Surrender to the surprisingly Good

By Bernice Owens,2014-12-12 00:55
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Surrender to the surprisingly Good

Loyalty Management Assignment Anika Roberts-Stahlbrand

    Surrender to the surprisingly Good

     I generally don’t like poetry (except rhyming couplets). I find it very time consuming and monotonous to read. My impatience stops me from completing complicated poems with complicated ideas. I feel very pressured when reading poetry, especially for school, to suck a greater meaning out of it. I never know whether the meaning I got really exists, or was contrived by my mind to get me on to the next poem. However, with Loyalty Management, by Glen Downie, I tried very hard to read the

    poems at a tempo I could understand. I re-read them and thought about their meanings. Although I was still annoyed with some of his poems, overall I found it a very rewarding experience.

     Loyalty Management was easy to read. The words well flowed together. Many of the poems,

    such as He naps in his former bedroom, conjured up vivid pictures in my head. I really love the poem

    Fafard’s cows take Toronto. I thought it was witty and got its point across well. Poetry can get a point across without actually saying it. You can feel the ideas in your heart and can relate to them, rather then just intellectually understanding them. Some of Downies poems creep in under me and then, while

    reading, I suddenly find myself feeling a certain emotion.

     Downie didn’t use commas and periods, which confused me. Maybe he was indicating that the reader could make sense of the writing themselves. I often find that poetry tries to be so deep that it doesn’t make sense anymore or is trying to hide the fact that it is actually shallow. Sometimes I wonder if some poets are intelligent at all, or are just stringing a bunch of words together. In my opinion (for how much it counts, considering I’m no poetry connoisseur) I think that on a whole, Downie’s poems

    seem to have content. I didn’t understand Pine cone. I though it was a jumble of words and references

    to his other poems. But some other slightly confusing and wordy poems still stirred my emotions. For example, Door to door is long and a bit hard to follow. I felt like I was listening to Frenchgetting the

    general idea, feeling the emotion, but maybe missing some of the subtle nuances. In that poem, as well

Loyalty Management Assignment Anika Roberts-Stahlbrand

    as others, I could still find myself caught up in Downie’s whirlwind of words. I didn’t always know exactly

    what was going on, but I just surrendered to the wind and let it blow me where it would.

     I often find poetry annoying and pretentious. I have always liked some poems like Lake Isle of

    Innisfree. But I usually find many free verse poems bamboozling and only thought them a bunch of nonsensical words. But since Loyalty Management was for a school project, I had to read it. I sometimes

    thought the poems were trying to be too deep and didn’t make sense (or sometimes found myself

    almost asleep on the TTC while reading). But I’m glad stuck with it. As I look back on it, I enjoyed most of

    this book and many of these poems. If I learned one thing from reading my first full book of poetry it is this: don’t worry about understanding the poems, don’t struggle with their meaning, just enjoy the

    sound they make in your head and the natural feelings they bring. Poetry is often heavily analysed, but with this book, I found the poems I enjoyed best were the one’s I didn’t stress about understanding, the one’s I just let hit me.

Loyalty Management Assignment Anika Roberts-Stahlbrand

    It ain’t that bad (It’s pretty darn good)

    It seems as though everyone bashes Toronto, so I was expecting the Downie’s poems to be

    about how Toronto is bad and other such trifles. While reading I found myself picking out all the proofs that proved my hypothesis. Once I realized I was doing that, I tried to step back a bit and read it from a non-partisan point of view (which is impossible).

     I still found that the author seemed to not like certain aspects of Toronto. In Fafard’s cows take

    Toronto I think he is saying that Toronto is too uptight and that bureaucracy just gets in the way. Downie also expresses dislike for politicians and political decisions. In Cold Snap, he reprimands the premier for

    not doing enough about homelessness in Toronto. In The Message, I think he is talking about the power

    of the word No when many people join together to say it. I don’t think I fully understand Vertical Society

    but it is an obvious attack on the government. It says, “Screw the Premier!” (Downie 56). I understand

    two things from this poem. Downie’s daughter is growing up and seeing beyond, but the Premier is still blinded and short sighted. Downie could also be saying that there is no support for the future, only limited infrastructure and pathetic welfare.

    Downie finds Ontario’s government to be rather useless and hypocritical. He thinks parties

    buy our votes and then sell infrastructure and things like that to private companies. I gather he thinks Toronto is starting to have too much crime. He, like most people, is annoyed by the constant onslaught of marketers and canvassers asking for signatures and money, who bother you with a rainbow of brochures and pins.

     I love Toronto! It is an amazing city. I love food and in Toronto you can get any kind of food for any kind of budget. I enjoy experiencing new things and my favourite place is little India. It is so nice that we have a beach and I am lucky enough to live right near it. A favourite pass time of mine in the summer is to spend a day swimming in the lake with a friend (and some hummus and crackers). It’s also great to

Loyalty Management Assignment Anika Roberts-Stahlbrand

    live in the beaches because I can walk everywhere. I’m so glad I don’t have to spend money on a car or rely on my parents to get me where I want to go. If I want to leave this area I can take a 45 minutes streetcar ride to Kensington.

     I agree Toronto has many problems. But everyone is so hard on us. We are the economic center for the country, but we never get our fare share of the money. Our under funded TTC can be unreliable, slow and crowded. Our politicians aren’t the best (I’d rather see a focus on the environment, which by

    extension would help the economy) but politicians are people too. Even though we have very little crime per capita, everyone talks about how crime is going up. Everyone focuses on the bad of Toronto. I have lived here all my life, but travelled a lot. Whenever I come home I am happy. I want to be someone who gives Toronto a pat on the back. It’s a city to be proud of. As important as it is to criticize the

    government and actively work for change, it is also important to celebrate successes and enjoy our convivial city of lakes, concrete, neighbourhoods, foods and cultures. Toronto is a great experiment in social composting.

    Loyalty Management Assignment Anika Roberts-Stahlbrand

    Summer Job

    girls running jumping calling

    camp counsellors can’t control their contagious energy

    joining in they yell and leap

    having fun despite their older age

    at university counsellors are much too mature for meandering in the forest of blueberry island and rolling

    in the morning dew but in this magical place

    the mature and the mini march along singing

    my-mamma-don’t-wear-no-socks having a ball playing parachute games in the sun shinning down on their sensitive slightly sun burned skin

once I was on of those tiny tots

    of about ten tramping about

    my head filled with a scintilla of thought

I’ll not be a counsellor but a CIT*

    rather then seeing how to drink tea like at a prim and proper aristocratic asthmatic democratic diplomatic bureaucratic office worker in an attic I will learn how to lead the learners

    I will learn how to follow the young folks enthusiasm and joy and carry it higher and make it grow and glow and perk up the pessimistic with a personable grin

No longer young and care free

    the weight of the lives of the campers on my back but the love the joy of the job in my heart

    no flipping mcburgers

    contributing to deforestation global warming

    from farting gigantic gaseous cows eating GMO soy

    grown thousands of miles away

    no spending my time

    bored and buckled down in an office as the sun beams bounce into the room no going out late at night with other non-working friends and waking up with a whopper of a headache just to go off and sell

    whopper hamburgers to sardonic costumers

    I have a summer where my joy of camp and my love of the canoe and rock climbing can be shared and can grow and expand

    I can look from my lopsided canoe to giggling girls as they hold their first paddle their top hand

    holding the neck of the poor strangled old thing

    for the first time

    I instruct I teach I tell what I have learned from people like me from the counsellors of my past who I now room with

    I’ll get the girls paddling and pat them on their life jacket-padded backs

    Loyalty Management Assignment Anika Roberts-Stahlbrand

Just listen to the description of this job but think

    of the responsibility and required energy being silly and being safe

    it is a hard act to balance

    I’m not expecting a simply pleasurable summer but a summer

    with simple pleasures like the satisfaction of seeing someone learn to swim or making

    a kid smile

    on Saturday skit night

I have a dream job

I am lucky


    The specific poem I’m trying to emulate here is Door to door. But this is really a melange of all the styles from Downie’s poetry. I notice he uses a lot of alliteration without many commas and periods.

    Downie tends to leave his sentences ambiguous. I also found that he takes a sound from a word and then twist is into another word (bureaucratic;attic). I noticed he would be writing about a totally innocent thing and then suddenly throw in some political message. I hope I did a reasonable job of

    interpreting and capturing Downie’s style.


Loyalty Management Assignment Anika Roberts-Stahlbrand

    Our Lake I row in my single

    down the long canal

    in the golden sunset,

    by the Toronto skyline

    by enjoying the calming water by the exertion of my muscles

I tip that’s just great

    feet out of foot stops

    into the dirty canal

    by the gravel pits

    by the toxic piles of dust by the gas plant in progress

I bike cold and wet

    winding along the lake


    why the tip was foul

    why the water is dirty

    why industry comes first

I swim by the beach

    practically alone


    why the lake is safer here why other are afraid to swim why we can’t feel comfortable

I hope that’s for sure

    sitting on a bench

    on the boardwalk

    that the economy will value our lake

    that the city will prize our lake that the people will enjoy our lake

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