10:45 Burrard at Dunsmuir

Saw a man in uniform
Serving as a reminder
Pinning plastic poppies
On all of the yuppies
They’re cheap and flimsy
Falling quickly
Just like the memories
The memories of the yuppies
Putting nickels in jars
Now they’ve done their part
With a plastic token as proof
Plastic people
Plastic poppies
Serving only as reminder
For a brief moment a year
What of March, August, January?
The poppies are plastic, after all
Will they not last year round?
What’s the point of all this plastic?
I see no poppies in gardens
No poppies in fields
Only poppies in plastic
On plastic people
Pinned by stalwart men
Onto forgetful yuppies.

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4 thoughts on “10:45 Burrard at Dunsmuir

  1. Fortunately, it’s not always quite so plastically tangential to real life.

    I went to Soldiers’ Tower, the war memorial at the University of Toronto this morning, and stood with the others near the wall of names of those who didn’t come back (which included John McCrae of Flanders’ Fields fame).

    The bugler sounded The Last Post. The piper played the regimental tune of the Toronto Scottish Regiment at funereal pace. Then the bugler sounded The Rouse. Two minutes of silence followed, the clock tower silenced and not ringing 11:00 as it normally would. Then, at 11:02, the tolling of the bell above, while the small band present played God Save the Queen, followed by O Canada.

    Meanwhile, a block away at Queens Park (the Ontario Legislature) where another ceremony was going on, the cannon began firing, one shot per minute, until eleven had sounded. Overhead a plane from World War I, World War II, and a modern military jet passed by.

    The Hart House carillonneur played a memorial on the bells of Soldiers’ Tower, and the ceremonies were complete.

    Students, faculty, administrative staff, and people off the street. Alumni in uniforms. The crowd milled, seeking and touching names, laying wreaths, quietly conversing. I noted people with British poppies, Australian poppies, many of ours, even two live poppy flowers in lapels. Slowly people dispersed as the last of the cannonade echoed away between the towers of the city.

    A week ago I had bought my poppy for 2011 from a Royal Canadian Legion box simply left on the bar in the Faculty Club pub. This year it might be made from plastic … but was not. Not when you have tear tracks freezing to your face, as did I.

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