A Tribute to Jack Layton

Today, as I write this, millions have gathered their minds together

to honour you, Jack.

I hope you can see them. They drew all over the square

with chalk and love.

They got up hours before the sun, to make sure they could come see you.

They are shedding tears for you and your family – so many they could wash the country clean.

They are piling up flowers outside your office –

maybe you can catch their fragrance before they fade.

Maybe you can read the messages of love that are crowding cyberspace right now.

Maybe you can hear the songs being sung for you… and for all of us.

It was easy to forget how sick you were.

We picture you smiling,

magnetic, genuine, vigourous, warm,

full of ideas and humour,

not to mention sheer persistence.

You gave a damn – about every one of us,

even those who didn’t give a damn about you.

Many wrote you off, even though you just wanted what we all want:

happy Canadians.

You wanted us to be healthy, well-educated, well-cared-for.

You wanted us to live in decent homes, in a beautiful, blooming country.

You wanted this for all of us –

the fortunate and the unfortunate, the young and the old, the hard-up and the wildly successful.

These dogged hopes transcended politics.

They were not such a crazy dream to have.

And you are right: your dream is longer than a lifetime.

Your wife bravely told us, “Love doesn’t die.”

I know she is right.

I still can’t believe you’re gone,

but I’ll work to carry your optimism with me.

We will make sure your love –

for Canada, for the world, for people –

lives.

jack-layton-chalk-mural-nathan-phillips-square

***


 

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