Saturday, September 10, 2011


Tuesday, August 23, 2011/Monday, August 29, 2011


By Philip Cairns

Copyright 2011 by Philip Cairns

On this late August early evening,
The chill of the coming fall
Bites into my bare legs.

A shivering, icy chuck of detritus sits in my taut gut,
Refusing to be evacuated.
Too much activity around me,
Distractions pulling me away from my churning insides.

The lake is frosty and haughty,
Refusing to comfort me and speak to my soul.
Sadness and regrets tear into my sombre, cold flesh.

Twenty-four hours ago,
I watched the TV news.
Jack Layton passed away.

This afternoon, I ran into a lefty comrade from the Co-operative Housing movement.
“I’d have to say he was one of the all-time great Canadians,” she said.
I believe he really cared about the people of Canada,
As every Canadian politician should.

He wasn’t in it for fame, money or fancy cars.
Jack used his power and charisma to help you and I.
To fight for justice and equality.

What a contrast to our current mayor, Rob Ford
Who is truly an international embarrassment.
A bad joke on the people of this city.
Ford just strikes me as someone slightly dim,
Drowning in water too deep for his shallow intellect.

I feel distraught because Canada has lost a truly unique individual.
At least I know I’m not the only one feeling this way.
It isn’t fair.
Sixty-one is far too young to exit this churning, desperate planet we call Earth.

The sky is turning incredible shades of blue and mauve
As the exhausted sun decides to rest for the day.
Geese feed on the grass all around me.
A seagull sits quietly,
All puffed up against the chill.

Small white boats waft by in the lake.
Runners and cyclists speed along,
Hoping to stay fit and healthy.

Goodbye, Jack.
All I can say is thank you for your devotion and integrity.
Thank you for caring
And helping to make Toronto and Canada a better place to be.

I remember marching in the Labour Day parade,
Some summers ago.
We ended up prancing into the CNE grounds at the end of the day.
There was Jack and Olivia Chow in the stands,
Waving and smiling as we marched in
Wearing our light blue ACTRA T-shirts.
That’s how I will remember you.

Your smile and joyous energy, that day,
Was so encouraging and bright.
I felt proud to be an actor, a union member and a Canadian.
I will always keep that final image of you in my head.
You were forever on the side of the working people.