A friend made a remark once: “Canadian poetry is mostly about place”. I hadn’t noticed it until I paused to reflect.
As you walk on Government St. near downtown Victoria — the capital of British Columbia — you get perplexed by the amount of detail: local shops, trees, street lights, tourists prowling around, beggars near Bastion Square, seagulls flying over intently and their droppings chaotically, but elegantly, spread on the sidewalks (and, occasionally, on somebody’s head).
Yet, few may have noticed a steel tree sculpture located on the corner of Government and Broughton streets. And even fewer pedestrians have stopped to reflect on the verses of a seeming poem embedded on the tree:
lift a penny
from the gutter
& with the same hand
point out stars,
I later learned this remarkable stanza is from Hide and Seek, a poem by local Victoria poet Carla Funk, and was manifested on the tree by Glenn Closson.
If you’re ever there, glance at the tree for an extra, tax-free smile.