Down in the reserves, up in the town
We’re split up and boxed in
And we got names too
“English,” “French,” “Black,” and “White”
These ain’t no names we got from our folks
But they’ll stay with you forever just the same
There are other names, some we speak and some we ignore
We don’t talk much about the mothers and fathers of this land
A land broken and taken from under them
Lost birds is what they’ve become
Living in some other nest, never to fly with their flock
Downie in the reserves
Figuring out mysteries on what’s missing in Canadian history
He says we can join him, his movement of memories
See Gord had the same feather and his heart was kindred
Not to look away when his fellow bird was in distress
See Gord knows that feathers come in all colours
But he never gave them any other names
Gord will be gone soon but I ain’t gonna forget him
He says we can all fly together.
Reflection on the poetry of Gord Downie.
“Poetry is not a turning loose of emotion, but an escape from emotion; it is not the expression of personality, but an escape from personality. But, of course, only those who have personality and emotions know what it means to want to escape from these things. “T. S. Eliot
When writing a poem, I always thought poetry had to rhyme. I never understood what poetry meant and never knew so few words can hold so much meaning. Getting more familiar with Gord Downie and The Tragically Hip made me more aware of their lyrics and the poetry that was within it. I’ve always known the power of music but it’s always striking to read the lyrics on their own as poems. The stories behind them are fascinating and that is what poetry ultimately is: storytelling. I also enjoy the fact that so much of it is open to interpretation and the meaning of words or phrases can change person to person. There isn’t a wrong answer because whatever the person is experiencing at the time will often determine how they interpret the poetry.
All American Boys
His guilt was no more than that of any other person at the shop that day
But they took away something from him far greater than his pride
Accusing, chasing and beating him without a say
Until he was broken and distraught all up inside
He had known how guilty and dangerous it was
To be young, black and wondering about
But had not thought it would hurt like this because
He had been on his ordinary, everyday route
Paralyzed with his news being spouted everywhere with opportunity
All witnesses choosing sides was oddly shifty
Some folk use this tragedy to speak of the presence of violence in the community
Voices raised disturb the voiceless, black and the forever guilty
Waiting for justice to serve its purpose in
recognizing that a life is a life no matter the color
This is bigger than him, a rally must take place for a people forgotten
And remember that black lives matter and this could not have been any smaller
This was rooted from an institution that had not reconciled with injustice
On a people entrapped, hurt and chained
In a place that did not recognize them as equal
Reflection on all American Boys
“When power leads man toward arrogance, poetry reminds him of his limitations. When power narrows the area of man's concern, poetry reminds him of the richness and diversity of existence. When power corrupts, poetry cleanses.” -- John F. Kennedy
This quote is very meaningful, especially in relation to All American Boys. I Writing a poem about a young black kid being shot by the police was a powerful thought and experience. It’s a topic that’s very relevant today as we see more and more unarmed black people being killed by law enforcement. There are debates and a lot of people calling for social change. This is obviously a very important subject. Due to the importance of the subject matter, I knew that this poem would be emotional and something I had to work hard on. I wanted this particular poem to rhyme and trying to find the right words required thinking outside the box like Charlie. It made me think about slavery and the trauma Africans were put through as well as how although they’re in a much better position today, there are still injustices happening today.
Flowers for Algernon
Flowers for Algernon was a very interesting book that gets its readers thinking about a lot of different issues. One of the strongest themes of the book is the treatment of the mentally disabled, especially back during the time the book was set. The reader carefully observes Charlie’s family and friends as the book progresses and although it is a work of fiction, what’s happening feels very real. Reading the book made me reflect on my own life and the experiences I’ve had with people who have mental disabilities. For example, Flowers for Algernon made me recall my next door neighbor’s daughter and the relationship she had with my family. I remember a day when I was on the bus she had trouble communicating to the bus driver on where she wanted to go. The driver didn’t seem to understand her and told her,“Listen, I think you have the wrong bus.” There wasn’t a second to waste before she had to get off the bus so I knew I had to move quick. I had her repeat what she wanted to the bus driver which took a long time but I thought the bus driver would be more understanding. He seemed annoyed by having to deal with her and I remember feeling guilty, upset, and angry that the world could be like this to someone so undeserving of that treatment. She was obviously disabled and I thought this meant that, if anything, she would get better treatment, not worse. It turned out she was on the right bus and I remember riding along with her wondering how many times things like this happen to her.
I had no idea my neighbour was mentally challenged at first. It wasn’t until she spoke to me that I started to hear that she spoke differently to other people. It was obvious it took her more time to form her thoughts and she had a stutter. I think most people react very positively to her. When they know someone needs a little more attention or care, they give it to them. This is how I felt. I was sure to take my time to listen to her and not make her feel like she was bothering me.
21 Century helped me enhance my learning in many ways by reading a book on mental disabled kid who had nothing going for him. It really made think really made me think of reality and it even goes beyond mental disabled people kids my age or younger being bullied by their own peers because they aren't smart enough to be like them flowers for algernon taught me how to think way beyond a book but to compare things to the book and make things interesting for yesterday flower for algernon was a wonderful book if i ever had to the decision to read over that book a gain i would without no hesitation because i know for a fact i'll think of things i never ever thought of before
speaking she was stuttering a lot more than an average person would but no matter i'd still take my time to hear her out.