Toronto Poet Dennis Lee's "Civil Elegies and Other Poems" has been highly influential in the writing of QCV2. Published in 1968 and later revised in 1972 the poem explores themes of identity, nationhood and belonging in civic space. From the introduction by Nick Mount, "Civil Elegies is a lament for Canada - not for any Canada that ever was, but for a Canada that might have been. It's a poem about failure, about drowned painters and dead poets, criminal politicians and consenting citizens, about ideas unrealized and lives unlived."


Beneath the vaulted halls of Union I was a train car cut adrift
You had your ticket in one hand and my hand in the other

You said Queen City's got her demons too, under your breath before we kissed
Then you vanished with the last departing lovers

And in the city square I asked the archer are we running off the rails?
While the ghosts of The Ward hovered dark and devious

He said there's nothing more repulsive than the need for cautionary tales
Oh honey I love it when you speak to me like prometheus

I was thinking maybe these things would pass

You'll find me singing maudlin elegies for a kingdom that never comes
Skulking down below the Bathurst bridge at midnight

Such a debt do we owe the ones we love
Such a debt do we owe

I was thinking maybe these things would pass


from Queen City: Volume Two, released July 21, 2015



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