I love him for his brain. And his agitated exuberance on stage. I can’t even bear to think of a world without him. Not just yet. People who make you feel so good and alive and happy and grateful should just get a free ticket to the end of the ride…to old age and dotage and shiny happy moments in the sunset with the approaching midnight sky softly revealing the constellations to them, and only them, one star at a time. It’s not fair.
I heard the news today. Gord Downie. Terminal. Brain Cancer.
I know I don’t know him. I know, more importantly, probably, that he doesn’t know me. I lay no claim to him. But also, he is all mine. I hold him, like a candle, to the Canadian poetic landscape, and I see that he shines. Oh my god, does he shine. I have long considered him among the greatest living Canadian poets. I don’t want to check that box that moves him to another column. I’m not ready. I’m selfish. I want more. His words are wisdom. His words are love. His words are Canada.
Sending him and his family (and his band family) peace and love and light in this time and always.
My previously published ode to Gord (Published in Raven Poetry Journal,©2006) :
An Open Letter of Adoration to Gordon Downie
Did you ever see a hypothetical sky, Gordo?
The kind that strips the greys away,
swallows clouds and shivers stars to focus?
Did you ever rest supine, dockside midnight hush,
or did you simply like the way
it fell from your iconic tongue,
beautiful, sublime and free,
filled with nostalgia and tears
of Bobcaygeon love?
Did you ever hypothetical, Gordo?
Twist your words to night
and black and white?
Or did you simply like the way
they fell, iconic from your tongue?
You fill your lungs with melancholy, Gordo,
and send it on its way,
bright the night with shivered sound,
delivering one star at a time.
And the poem… should be a song.
Really beautiful. He isn’t gone yet; people need to remember this. He is alive and we should celebrate each day that he is. I would hate for people to be memorialising me before I had actually died. I think you have captured that brilliantly.