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Pierre Elliott Trudeau:

In Memorium, Pierre Elliott Trudeau
Monday, October 2, 2000

In bare feet and a miniskirt,
when I screamed for you
with my teenage friends as if you were
a Montreal Mick Jagger,
I didn't know, Pierre, you were the same
age as my father. You didn't come close
to him -- his big-knuckled hands that fixed
machinery, his Sunday best: a shirt
and Western tie, no lapel to sport
a rose. How could he match
your élan, your sexy savoir faire, your joi
de vivre, words I couldn't say right
but knew they all meant you.

How surprised I was, my father ten years dead,
to see how old you looked at your son's funeral.
Somehow we thought you'd never age.
You'd just grow leaner, more ascetic and more distant.
A tall white pine in a garden carved from snow.

Some say what we call a soul
leaves the body in the shape of an animal
that can travel far and fast, without regret.
Surely what survived of you
became muscular and wild, perhaps
the Gaspé wolf who stared at you
from the darkness of the trees as your paddle broke
the water,
or the Snowy Owl from Whistler who swept you
through powder down the mountain
on a rush of wings.

They also say a soul may stay around a while
till things get settled. A window rattles,
wind rises out of nothing and dances
a red dress on the line, a man slips
and falls from grace into the arms of someone
who's not there.

Across this country
when we are one country,
will we feel you brushing past?
The air around us sudden and alive
with a quick incandescence,
and then a quietude, a stillness,
the kind that lives inside
a river stone.

Award-winning Victoria poet Lorna Crozier is the author of What The Living Won't Let Go, a collection of poems about the lives of two families, one real, one imagined, blended together in a celebration of memory.

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