Saturday, February 16, 2013

in the old city

Grace @ Everyday Amazing
Old Quebec, Quebec City



the artilleries are silent now, 
black shiny sentinels, facing the river
mindless of tourists wandering about, 
like ghosts, oblivious to history-

after more than 300 years of icy winters,
narrow streets are empty of horses
& gunpowder that tore the city into 
fragments and searching for its roots-  

only tall golden towers are bustling 
with the rich and famous, as if its walls never 
forgot its gilded beginnings of French verses
& stiffly crusted English cakes--

if these chipped buildings can talk, 
what stories would we hear-
if these cannons can speak 
in deep gravelled voices,
what betrayals would we know -

across the benches, sun-warmed,  
tulips bloom  amidst foreign scents & words,  
needing no diplomacy, its bold arms
draw an invisible map- 

i slowly walk, listening to echoes 
of those who have walked before me 
but really,   
i am still trying to find my place --

Posted for:   D'verse Poets Pub - Poetics - Hosted by Mary  

48 comments:

  1. Grace, your poem makes me want to return to Quebec City again. I was there once. Indeed if the chipped buildings and cannons could talk, what would they say? When you said 'graveled voice' cannons, I thought of Leonard Cohen, as that is how HIS voice sounds to me. I enjoyed your interjection of the tulips. The tulips always grow...beauty despite the nearby signs of old battles.

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    1. Yes, I have been listening to his music, that is why I said gravelled voice ~ I have been here twice already and its really full of history ~ Thanks for the lovely words and prompt Mary ~

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  2. smiles...we walk among history and try to find our own place in it...that is for sure...ah but the buildings they do talk to those who will look beyond just another place to live...thanks for the history on your place as well...nice one grace...

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    1. They do indeed Brian ~ Thank you ~

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  3. oh yes...what stories could they tell...the buildings, the cannons..love those places that are rich with history..and in all this the walk to find the own place in life...writing our own bit of history...nice...

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    1. I like that writing our own bit of history ~ Thank you Claudia ~

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  4. Your sense of place is so vivid in this poem, Grace... and I like the way you brought yourself in at the end.

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  5. Sure brought it to life, have never been to Quebec at all, barely left my hall haha Walking in such history and what came before sure can be a fun mystery.

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  6. Beautifully written, Grace - and you've managed to capture something of the schizophrenic identity of Quebec too; French, English, Canadian, Quebecois? Maybe Quebec as a whole is still searching for its place too.

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    1. Yes, everything about it, including its laws are distinct ~ That is a good point to ponder, thanks Tony ~

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  7. You painted this so vividly, Grace. i am so glad you did it, too. My favorite is the penultimate stanza.

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  8. I love the juxtaposition of violence past and the peaceful days of today... especially the tulips.

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  9. I like this old city, and all it's memories!

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  10. "i am still trying to find my place --"

    Of course, I enjoyed your poem, Grace. I always do. It's just with that last line you get me thinking, wondering if it would have been easier to find your (our) place 300 years earlier among "those who have walked before" (fewer places to find - socially, culturally, etc.). Thinking out loud. Poetry does that to me.

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    1. I appreciate your thoughtful remarks Eusebia ~ Perhaps it would been an easier time, less distractions and differentiation among the people ~

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  11. A strong sense of inner and outer place here with which the reader can really identify. k.

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  12. Really nicely done. I always fine myself wondering what life was like a long time ago when I visit these places.

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  13. I love your opening stanza, I don't know much about your city but I like to think buildings hold on the people who dwelled within, and that if you really listen you can hear the stories of the past. Lovely poem.

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  14. I live not far from the oldest city in America...St. Augustine. I have the same musings there that you have in your old city...so many echoes. I love your ending too, Grace.

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  15. I think of the words, spirit of place; this is what you have shown so well here and we can feel that as we read the words,,,and also i identify with the yearning to find "my place",,,

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  16. I have read your words several times Grace and truly think I could read them forever.

    It is true that we forget our history, blind ourselves to our past, for it seems that only now is important.

    Oh what stories our towns and cities could tell - if we would only listen.

    I have stated the following in response to other works - as I sit here typing away, I do often wonder what has gone before me - in this very space in which I sit - oh I would love to know - see the progress of time. What existed here so many centuries ago, what lives were gained and lost? I think of this often.

    I am still trying to find my place too in this wonder of life.

    Anna :o

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    1. I get these same reflections when going to old cities, what has gone before me ~ Thank you for the lovely comments Anna ~

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  17. Ah! Thinking of the song I chose, I forgot about the atmosphere of place that you give so beautifully here! A hippy husband and I spent a honeymoon here back in 1973. The marriage did not take, and I had forgotten this regimented--yet messy with ghosts and stories--part of town. From the iron of cannon to the splash of tulips, I feel the place in your poem. The English cakes and French verses made me smile. Do you live nearby? or would that be out of place?

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    1. Really, I hope Not during winter as its really cold ~

      This is long way from where I am, about 9 hours ~ Thanks for the lovey words and visit Susan ~

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  18. Absolutely amazing. The fourth stanza was really captivating.

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  19. I love retrospective poems such as this. Makes me want to visit this place and learn more :)

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  20. if these cannons can speak
    in deep gravelled voices,

    They DO have a story to tell. I love old cities, places - they ARE poetry.

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  21. nice tensions between the historis and memories of buildings and your present journey

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  22. 'if these chipped buildings can talk', scary if I stop and consider some of the building I have lived in -if they could indeed talk. My favourite was Gingers (a hotel) on Holis St in Halifax, I lived in a apartment above. At nights looking down, I often wonder about the stories that might surround Gingers and the lower eastside below. Halifax as you probably know had a great an seedy history.

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  23. This has a good feel to it, making the reader want to read on. The ending: perfection!

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  24. "i slowly walk, listening to echoes
    of those who have walked before me
    but really,
    i am still trying to find my place --" loved it !!!

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  25. Nice rendering of a place not so familiar to m. Gracias

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  26. Excellent write, Grace. Vivid and full of emotion. Nicely done!

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  27. Lovely shot, with such moving words.

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  28. Still trying to find my place...completely resonate with that. The visual and your words together work to make an evocative piece, makes me want to visit Quebec City :)

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  29. ...Grace this was particularly good... your sense of descriptions brought forth moving and wonderful images... and indeed when you're in a place with like that you can't really have but think of the many history behind it... your poem kind of reminded me of a classic poem by an unknown author from the anglo-saxon period, "The Ruined City"... great write & really eanjoyed it...smiles...

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  30. Not very familiar with Canada except from travel shows and such but a beautiful country and you have done it justice with this write.

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Thank you for your comments and visit. I appreciate them ~