Olympic poetry

The opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics was held in Vancouver last Friday. The visual effects were breathtaking, but I must admit that some parts were by turns annoying, cringe-worthy and some were even downright dull. However, for myself and many other Canadians, one part stood out in particular. The poet, Shane Koyczan, stood on the central podium and delivered a piece which totally hit the nail on the head regarding what it is to be Canadian. Many people, rightly or wrongly, would lose interest at the thought of listening to a poem, but this truly, truly resonated with millions. It was incredibly moving, inspiring and heartwarming when Shane spoke directly to us all. Whether or not you are a supporter of the Olympics, you should read this transcript. I have great reservations about the Olympics in general, but I am proud to be Canadian.

VANCOUVER, B.C. – A transcript of Shane Koyczan’s poem, “We Are More,” as delivered during the opening ceremonies of the 2010 Olympic Games:

“Define Canada

You might say the home of the Rocket

Or The Great One

Who inspired little No. 9s and little No. 99s

But we’re more than just hockey and fishing lines

Off of the rocky coast of the Maritimes

And some say what defines us

Is something as simple as ‘please’ and ‘thank you’

And as for ‘you’re welcome,’ well, we say that, too

But we are more than genteel or civilized

We are an idea in the process of being realized

We are young, we are cultures strung together then woven into a tapestry

And the design is what makes us more than the sum totals of our history

We are an experiment going right for a change

With influences that range from A to Zed

And yes, we say ‘Zed’ instead of ‘Zee’

We are the brightness of Chinatown and the laughter of Little Italy

We dream so big that there are those

Who would call our ambition an industry

Because we are vineyards of good year after good year

We reforest what we clear

Because we believe in generations beyond our own

Knowing now that so many of us

Have grown past what we used to be

We can stand here today

Filled with all the hope people have

When they say things like ‘someday’

Because we are more

Than a laundry list of things to do and places to see

More than hills to ski

Or countryside ponds to skate

We are the abandoned hesitation of all those who can’t wait

We are first-rate greasy spoon diners and healthy living cafes

A country that is all the ways you choose to live

A nation that can give you variety

Because we are choices

We are millions upon millions of voices

Shouting, keep exploring

We are more

We are the surprise the world has in store for you, it’s true

Canada is the ‘what’ in ‘what’s new’

So don’t let your luggage define your travels

Each life unravels differently

And experiences are what make up

The colours of our tapestry

We are the true North

Strong and free

And what’s more

Is that we didn’t just say it

We made it be”

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~ by Pip 'n' Milly Creations on February 17, 2010.

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