The abandoned hesitation of all those who can’t wait


A little too “I am Canadian beer commercial” for some but I really liked Shane Koyczan‘s poem, “We Are More,” as delivered during the opening ceremonies of the 2010 Olympic Games (here is a transcript of the complete version):

“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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2 Comments on “The abandoned hesitation of all those who can’t wait

  1. Try as I might while he proclaimed his affection for the native land, I couldn’t figure out what Shane was doing up there. Either he was an understudy to Ben Heppner, flexing his pipes, or a Shakesperian understudy of William Hutt. I couldn’t tell. He obviously liked to hear himself. For sure, we have lost track of our national identity. And Shane is the living proof. We definitely need new blood to define Canada to Canadians and the world in this new millennium. The Shane-meister’s doggerel has momentary flashes of originality. Promise, even, as in “We are an experiment going right for a change”. But I can’t for the life of me figure out what Shane-o was doing up on that dias, except to make the point that they like to in the corporate cathedrals of power. We need a new “brand”. Best of luck with the draft Shane movement.

    • You caught me mid-blog. I am just about to post a commentary on the lack of real Canadian identity exhibited by the Olympic opening ceremonies. The overwhelming need by our political leaders (and yes I believe the Olympic Opening Ceremonies were controlled by the political forces in Ottawa and Victoria) to make sure all of our special interest groups are properly represented at any and all cultural events leaves the vast majority of Canadian without anything to identify with.

      That doesn’t stop me from appreciating aspects of Shane’s poetry, even if I tend to agree that it left me, at times, waiting for the bottle of Molson Canadian to be hoisted to his lips.

      In the absence of a true Canadian cultural hero, one for the people by the people, not one defined for us by the public servants at the ministry of multiculturalism, I am happy to applaud Shane for his efforts.

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