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"Poetry is the evidence of life. If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash." Leonard Cohen

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

VICTORIA Poetic Asides Challenge continues, 04.12.10 prompt,"cities"


Named for a rather proper and highly influential
British monarch, this jewel in the crown
Of the western most Canadian province, rests
With noticeably royal splendour, amidst old growth
Forests, myriad flower gardens, and near perfect climate
Sheltered from the sea, built inland on a deeply recessed bay
But still near enough to afford all, ocean access and spectacular views

There is old-world charm to be found here that blends
Comfortably with its more modern additions
Of world-class hotels and eateries; this is a city
Where many people come to retire, but it also supports
Many youth hostels and a significant number of after-hours
Clubs so the town cannot really be considered stodgy

However, the main thing that draws me back to the place
Again and again is its unequalled waterfront boardwalk
That is not really a boardwalk at all but about three-quarters
Of a mile of paved boulevard surrounding the harbour;
It plays home to the most interesting group of souls
One might encounter ever; here you will find buskers
The like of which you may never find anywhere else
In the world; they audition for their spots, and the competition
Is fierce – Darth Vader has played classical music on the one
Traffic island for at least the past five years – on his
Stradivarius – he is quite simply – awe-inspiring

There is a cowgirl statue who is alternately powdery white
Or, completely copper coloured, depending on her whim that day
Once she assumes a pose, it is impossible to tell she’s a living
Breathing person; she holds her position – even with all sorts
Of aggravations performed at, or upon her – although surprisingly
Few people try much – she stays perfectly still and in character,
For as long as twenty minutes to half an hour ...

There are always a plethora of artists quietly selling their wares
Situated well-back from the walk-way; some of them do portraits
Just at the edge of the boardwalk, up some death-defying steps
At the far end from where Darth Vader is performing, there’s
A perfectly ordinary girl-next-door-looking teenager who can
Coax the most amazing tunes out of her French Horn – everything
From jazz to the blues to classical to the occasional pop song
She never fails to take my breath away – and she always draws a crowd

As if this magnificent waterfront were not enough wow factor
Victoria throws a bash on the August long weekend that
Is not to be missed; the symphony splash –
Over fifty thousand people gather around the harbour
On the boardwalk, on the lawns of the Parliament Buildings,
Everywhere there’s space to sit or sprawl, people congregate;
And in the harbour, in boats, and on the docks and wharves
There are people; families, couples, seniors – tons of people

In all the years we’ve been going – never a policeman
To be found nor needed – a very well-behaved crowd
The musicians and their instruments are towed out
Into the harbour on a huge barge, and from there they perform
For roughly three hours, always ending with the William Tell
Overture, replete with fire-works – Victoria, B.C. – great city.

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