This song draws on the poem 'Sibelius Park', also from Dennis Lee's 'Civil Elegies'. Sibelius Park (or "Jean Sibelius Square" as it is now officially called), is a small square park nestled in the heart of the Annex. The poem reads autobiographically and acts, similarly to Nathan Phillips Square, as a lens through which to witness Lee's Toronto. The Annex of the 60's and 70's was a very different place than it is now. It was raw, grittier, and became an incubator for struggle writers of the time including Margaret Atwood and Dennis Lee. Out of that milieu also came the House of Anansi press (co-founded by Lee and referred to in Sibelius Park) which was instrumental in giving voice to what would be come the canon of canadian literature including: Margaret Atwood, Michael Ondaatje, Al Purdy, George Grant, Northrop Frye, and Dennis Lee.


Under the statue of Sibelius you
Counted your blessing and your Sir Roberts too, singing
Our money comes from accidents
Mistakes in the inheritance
Our riot's free from consequence
Our Annex cleared of dissidents

Now only the good
only the good
only the good ones survive

Our money comes from indolence,
Secures the meek entitlement
Our money buys indulgences
States of exception, acquiescences

If only the good
only the good
If only the good ones survived

Give us asylum in Sibelius Park.


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



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