Mahler and Freud Meet in Leiden, Part One, II:12
Your Toxes and your Chickses may draw out
my two front double teeth, Mrs. Richards, but that’s
no reason why I need offer ‘em the whole set.
— Susan Nipper, in Dickens’s Dombey and Son, III
Now the dead must rise
From the little Loyalist cemetery on King Street
And repopulate the generations, so that
Reverence has rationale, and rejection purpose,
To vindicate an ossification of arrival without departure,
The amalgamation of degeneration with delusion,
And deceit with unearned entitlement.
Samuel de Champlain may lie beneath the basilica
Of Notre-Dame-de-Québec, but even in his grave he moved on
After a Christmas death, leaving all to the Virgin Mary.
But the abandonment of Île Ste-Croix presaged
A cruel and clear awareness, the next readiness to assure
The viceroyalty of New France.
Above the bay, No Order of Good Cheer flourishes,
The Loyalist hinterland suckling its recollections of fealty
And slaves, the skeletal coronets of history languishing
At this place of refuge, partitioned from progress,
Indifference perfected by the indolence of insularity.
Their bones are beyond restoration, their
Silent serenity shrivelled with the damage of semblances;
Neither pieced together by glory, nor the inheritors
Of the touchstone of history, the ghosts of time
Only are only remembered and touched for their emptiness.
St. Stephen, NB, 30 December 2008
Canadian Literature (Vancouver, BC), 207, 10 (2010)