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World Poetry Day - March 21

UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) recognizes World Poetry Day on March 21 as a global initiative to encourage the act of reading and writing poetry as well as sharing it and teaching it to others.

 

During the regular council meeting held on Monday, March 19, the following piece of poetry titled "Accidentally" written by the award winning Manitoban poet, Di Brandt, was read aloud. This poem is from her 2003 book of poetry titled "Now You Care", which resulted in Di Brandt being shortlisted for the Griffin Poetry Prize, the Trillium Ontario Book of the Year Award, and the Pat Lowther Award for "best book of poetry by a Canadian woman".

 

The poem is attached as a PDF and is also written in its entirety below:

 


 

"Accidentally" by Di Brandt

 

Because the millennium has ended. Because the children have taken over the monasteries, and filled them with fishnets, wildflowers, paper lanterns, donkeys made of straw.

 

Because Our Lady of the Prairies stepped down off her pedestal last August, walked across the yellow stubble fields in her white silk dress, and didn’t come back.

 

When the rivers flooded and the grass along the banks turned black, and the mosquitoes came, billions of them, to plague us.

 

Our first born, daughters, angry as hell at our parental betrayal of them, we didn’t know, we didn’t know.

 

At the poetry festival, all the young women wore violets and goldenrod in their hair.

 

They said the house was haunted, and it was, the dead walking through it, dazed, in black and red velvet, the children screaming at them, joyful and afraid, the monks sullen, retreating in the shadows.

 

Alissa, alone among the children, stared back at the ghost bride in her faded brocade, let the white gloved hand of death touch her cheek, and didn’t flinch. Her memory welling up in her like a flame, spider knowledge.

 

You were there, then, with red hair, carrying one of the dead over your shoulder, and your aura of sadness, in all that commotion, cut a wave of silence in the air.

 

Who knows why anything happens? Or how lucky we are, in spite of these alarms, these signs of an era ending, and new beginnings?

 

The spirits have been good to us, have visited us, with blessings, in spite of our inattention, our distractedness, and yes, we are grateful, we are deeply grateful, though we have forgotten the words for this prayer, this alleluia, this amen.

 


 

Wednesday, March 21st is also International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. As posted earlier as a public notice, the Brandon Cultural Awareness Network, along with community partners, will be recognizing this day in Brandon.

 

 


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