In celebrating Canada’s 150th birthday I reflected on my father, Harry Erbert, an immigrant who loved Canada and called it home.
In doing so I came across a poem he had written and submitted to The Morning Star back in 2006.
“Since most of us came from war ridden lands
had invasions and conquered terrain on demands,
over reasons of heritage, language and pride
we refuse not to hate, learned to live side by side.
The Slav and the Saxon, the Anglo and the Roman,
the French and the Viking, the Gentile, the Jew,
we are their descendants and know it like no man,
our past is forgotten, we are starting anew.
Generations ago in the lands of our past
children learned how to hate, and they learned it fast
but today in this land, by respecting each other
children teach us to love, not to hate one another.
So the lance of the Roman and the knife of the Slav
like the axe of the Viking and Gentile, his staf
have been thrown in a pile and burned by a people
peace and freedom declared in the leaf of a maple.
We are standing together and share our land
understanding oppression, we extend our hand
to the peaceful, courageous, to the honest and brave
to the hungry and innocent, whom wars made a slave.
It is not obligation to religion or race
that you see in a truly Canadian face
but tranquil reflections of forest and lakes
and a will to hate Hate because that’s what it takes
to show the rest of the feuding world
that there is a land of peace in which to grow old.
Many see our land as a vastness of ice
full of wolves, vicious bears and owl hunting mice.
Well a chuckle is worth it and it’s easy to beat
since we feed many nations with Canadian wheat
an abundance of timber, buried gold is no wish
the oceans surrounding us supply many fish.
It’s the land of the north that from its people will borrow
their hearts, the land’s beauty for a better tomorrow.”
Brigitte Red, Vernon