Canadian Occasional (150)

Here's to the home and native land
of nations first and second and third,
denizens normally restrained and reserved
(until it comes to grown men in hot pursuit 
of a rubber disk on frozen water);
to die-hard patriots of curling and lacrosse,
drivers of dogsleds and snowmobiles,
tuques with and sans pompoms, national parks,
boreal forests, rocky peaks, alpine glaciers, 
arctic tundra, icefields and bergs, 
bays, harbours, and falls, canals with gated locks, 
and doughy beaver tails with cinnamon or salted caramel. 

All hail the bacon, beer, and dry ginger ale,
the bite-sized donut morsels by the box,
syrupy sap tapped from leafy maples,
grassy prairies, thousand islets, bluffs and cliffs,
lakes great and pretty darn good,
railroads, ferries, transcontinental highway, 
western capes and eastern coves (or vice versa),
fulgent auroras adorning northern firmaments,
dino bones, domed igloos, birchbark canoes, 
the loonie and twoonie, the moose and the goose, 
curious polar bears, garbage-loving grizzlies,
the chattering of the starling, the twitter of the nightingale. 

Cheers to monarchists (and their anti-monarchist pals);
to the rightful charter and sober second thoughts;
to forces standing on guard, legions of veterans,
and the fallen whose torch we hold aloft;
to wheat farmers, beef ranchers, fishers of salmon and trout;
to neighbours excavating cars from unplowed streets 
and casually shoveling each other's driveways; 
to the human warmth overriding politeness,
the unassuming character, subtle yet substantial;
to the communal mosaic, a tapestry of threads
diversely woven with respect utmost,
not from sea to sea, but from coast, to coast, to coast.

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Brandon Marlon is a writer from Ottawa, Canada. He received his B.A. in Drama & English from the University of Toronto and his M.A. in English from the University of Victoria. His poetry was awarded the Harry Hoyt Lacey Prize in Poetry (Fall 2015), and his writing has been published in 200+ publications in 27 countries. www.brandonmarlon.com.

On “Canadian Occasional (150)”: An Interview with Brandon Marlon

Canadian Occasional (150)” is a poem by Brandon Marlon published in the REVIVAL issue of Orange Quarterly (OQ 5), released in fall 2017 (on October 31).

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What inspired you to write this poem?

2017 marks Canada’s sesquicentennial, occasioning this occasional poem.

Why do you make art, and why write poetry in particular?

Artists are impelled to express and communicate; it’s an innate urge. I write in several writing genres. Poetry permits me to lyricize a statement with blessed brevity.

What do you like about reading or performing your work for an audience?

Poetry recitals reveal whether the reactions of others to your words (and to the thoughts and imagery they convey) mirror your own subjective sentiments.

In what ways do you think art and poetry are vital to society today?

Art is a key indicator of the vitality of any given society, today as ever. Artistic creation is a primordial human endeavor, a form of attempting to imitate the divine.

Who are some of your favorite poets, writers, musicians, filmmakers, or other artists?

Kings David and Solomon of Israel, Homer, Ferdowsi, Solomon ibn Gavirol, Judah HaLevi, Moses ibn Ezra, Omar Khayyam, Rumi, Hafiz, William Shakespeare.

What are you working on next, and what excites you most about the future?

I’m continually developing my thoughts regarding the subject matter for my upcoming writings, whether poetic, dramatic, filmic, or prosaic in nature. Quality writing is a function of quality thinking.

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Brandon Marlon is a writer from Ottawa, Canada. He received his B.A. in Drama & English from the University of Toronto and his M.A. in English from the University of Victoria. His poetry was awarded the Harry Hoyt Lacey Prize in Poetry (Fall 2015), and his writing has been published in 200+ publications in 27 countries. www.brandonmarlon.com.

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