The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #64186   Message #1614521
Posted By: Peace
27-Nov-05 - 03:19 AM
Thread Name: Lyr Req: Canada Is
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Canada Is
The lyrics you cite bear a resemblance to Duke Redbird's poem, "I Am a Canadian".

Redbird began writing poetry in the 1960s. His early protest poems, such as "I am the Redman" and "The Beaver" "reflect the political turmoil of the period when he was a militant social activist" (Petrone 130). "The Beaver" likens the white man's ways to the beaver who damns himself in, who "works all night without light/in the darkness" but the result of all this labour is a stagnant pond, and "all the creepy crawly creatures/will crawl down, to make a home/within that putrid pond." It ends with a warning to his brothers not to become a beaver, not to build a dam:

        For this is what the whiteman does
        With brick and stone and sand

        Till his mind is like that lake
        Filled with weird wicked wretches
        That give no peace.

        Then he cries to his creator
        In desperation

        Please God, my God, deliver me
        From damnation.

However, not all are protest poems; "I am a Canadian" is a sixty line poem celebrating the peoples of Canada, presented to Queen Elizabeth at her Silver Jubilee in 1977. Redbird captures a national slideshow of family photos:

        I'm a clown in Quebec during carnival
        I'm a mass in the cathedral of St. Paul
        I'm a hockey game in the forum
        I'm Rocket Richard and Jean Beliveau
        I'm a coach for little league Expos
        I'm a babysitter for sleep defying rascals
        I'm a canoe trip down the Ottawa
        I'm a holiday on the Trent
        I'm a mortgage, I'm a loan
        I'm last week's unpaid rent

The poem ends:

        I'm the Arctic Ocean, and the Beaufort Sea,
        I'm the prairies, I'm the Great Lakes,
        I'm the Rockies, I'm the Laurentians,
        I am French
        I am English
        And I'm Métis
        But more than this
        Above all this
        I am Canadian and proud to be free.

In 1978, Redbird published his Masters thesis in political science from York University entitled We Are Métis, an impassioned history of the Métis, and the first of its kind—a history of the Métis by a Métis.

The poems of the 1980s "reveal a mellowed Redbird who has moved... onto such subjects and themes as the beauty of the landscape; love of family, home and friends; and romantic love" (Petrone 158).

        I've climbed the mountain,
        And feared the stony path
        I've reached the precipice,
        And I've laughed
        At the crevasses of life.
        I've shouted my triumph at the granite wall
        And watched my failures fall.
        Lord, I've loved the morning
        And slept with the night,
        I've touched the goodness,
        And fondled the sin,
        I've wondered at creation
        And cursed some paths I've been.

Redbird has represented Canada in many ways: as vice-president of the Native Council of Canada, President of the Ontario Metis and Non-Status Indian Association, his poem "Indian Pavilion" was featured during Expo '67 in Montreal, and he represented Canada at the Valmiki World Poetry Festival in Delhi, India (1985). In 1987, a commissioned work of his was read at the opening of the Canadian Museum of Civilization in Hull, Quebec. He has combined many of his talents in a recent CD of his poetry and music called Duke Redbird's Poetry. Redbird currently operates a wilderness retreat in Madawaska, Ontario (Petrone 127).

Selected Titles: Loveshine and Red Wine (1981) Duke Redbird's Poetry (CD)