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Tuesday, March 5, 2013

saying the names

Travelled to Upper Hastings County yesterday.

As I passed through familiar hamlets, I took their photos.

As I did that, I heard Al Purdy's voice, saying their names.

These names were raised from the geographical to the literary when Al wrote 'My Grandfather's Country' (To Paris Never Again, 1997)

And I ask myself:

Is the poem more real to me because of these physical signs...touchstones?

Or are these places more real for all of us because of Al Purdy's poems?

"the clearings join and fences no longer divide..."

"Highway 62
in red October
where the Canadian Shield hikes north
with southern birds gone now
thru towns named for an English novel
a battle in Scotland and Raleigh's dream of gold
-Ivanhoe    Bannockburn     El Dorado
with "Prepare to Meet Thy God" on granite billboards"...

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