Pause For Poetry: The Man, The Machine, The Poet
My Tribute to Canada’s Unofficial Poet Laureate
– Gord Downie and The Tragically Hip
By Wanda Potrykus
I tip my hat – a feathered fedora of course – to the Tragically Hip
Gord Downie your performance in light of your fight ahead
Was nothing short of heroic – and you so stoic in the face of death
You gave your all… as the rest of the band stood tall… and watched to see you didn’t fall
In each step you took, each gesture, each growl and roar
I saw your rage… because walking by your side on the stage was the grim reaper
But you howled your defiance and kept giving us more
In the faces of the audience… we saw… the tears, the pain…
Concert going for me will never be quite the same
Now we all know that Life’s a game… we’re born, we live, we laugh, we sigh… at times we cry… but last night I saw another side… if we’re strong… if we’re brave… we can also defy.
Gord… you have the sword of Damocles hanging above your head –
No one relishes the road you have to tread… the one right there ahead of you
As the cancer inside your bright poetic head destroys the one we know… as the Hip’s front man
So, if you can… take anything away from the Hip and their legacy,
I’m sure you’ll agree… it’s remember to live… and to give back while you can.
Because after all is said and done, no one cares about something you didn’t do.
No one you… see would have expected the band… the Man. the Machine. the Poet… to tour our land… after receiving the news of Gord’s glioblastoma.
Aha… but they did… and the Hip’s brave singer faced cancer by using his mike as his middle finger.
His message to Death… cancer may take my life but it won’t make me forsake
My passion and love for the words and the music and the rock and roll…
and for you all
Though the bell may toll for him in the coming months… our memories and love for the music of the Hip… that’s had many of us Canadians in its grip for over thirty years… will be… I’m sure you’ll agree with me… his enduring legacy.
Wanda Potrykus is a writer, editor, translator and poet. A graduate of McGill, she has spent most of her career in marketing communications, PR, event and media relations specializing in international aviation, telecommunications, education and the marketing of the arts.