by rob mclennan
for William Hawkins,
When you were young and in your prime,
a battle of wills between you and Trudeau, Laurier LaPierre,
the American National Guard. Deflecting gains
from Empire State.
No flies on you, who once kicked dust from ancient tavern floors,
played Lowertown games of telephone and poems, walked
French Catholic blocks, tracked Sol’s sundial jaunt
across Sisters of Mercy. Now, you labour atop Peace Tower’s peak,
Remain there long enough to count the strands of traffic
bridge the river Grand, now seven deep,
criss-crossing Chaudiere’s diminished boil.
Born in Ottawa, Canada’s glorious capital city, rob mclennan has lived in Ottawa’s Centretown since 1990 (give or take a year). The author of more than twenty trade books of poetry, fiction and non-fiction, including Ottawa: The Unknown City (Arsenal Pulp Press, 2008) and The Ottawa City Project (Chaudiere Books, 2007), he spent the 2007-8 academic year in Edmonton as writer-in-residence at the University of Alberta, and regularly posts reviews, essays, interviews and other notices at robmclennan.blogspot.com.