A (slightly revised) closing story of hope for True City 2014
It will begin with a song,
With light behind the smokestacks,
the notes will weave
through the valley,
bounce off the escarpment.
There will be light.
As the notes liltingly fall
waters will begin to run
Albion falls and Buttermilk,
Webster falls and Spencer,
Fifty mile and Chippewa,
Red Hill Valley and river Grand,
will flow and make new
the Erie shore of long point,
the paradise for Cootes and harbour lake,
restored, renewed, and fresh.
A growing song, with fertile joy
the trees burst forth,
roots reaching down for freshness
and air so clean above.
Chestnut, alder, oak and pine,
butternut, aspen, poplar,
linden, willow, tamarak and ash,
sycamore, maple, hawthorn
leafing out and shading the alleys
where we hide the truth of cities
filling space with life.
Gore and Dundurn,
parking lots at Mac,
Centre, all burst open
leafy branch and thirsty root
finding home in wilderness,
making home in wilderness.
As the light notes airily arise
asters, black-eyed sue, foamflower,
and blazing star, poppies, scarlet flax,
purple cone and lupin blue,
calling forth the insects,
goldenrod beetle, wasp and bee,
robber fly and spittle bug,
candy striped and hornworm,
spider yellow, swallowtail,
and painted ladies on the wing,
join the birds
all brought to life
as music winds around the parks,
the buzzing, humming, fragrant
festival of friends at Gage,
Sam Lawrence, Gore and Victoria,
Bruce Trail, Confederation,
Dundas Valley, all
will witness to the beauty, joy and wonder
of the singer.
As music swells and earth brings forth,
ravines will welcome home
coyote, deer and hare,
fox and muskrat, beaver,
groundhog, weasel, fisher,
mice and mole.
But what of us?
Are we sung in or out?
Once more the song will change.
A deep joy edged with sorrow.
Blues break forth with life and hope
the sound of children in the streets,
of ball and stick,
no interrupting yell of “car!”
The elders gaze from
where chard and berries,
pear and vine,
proclaim abundance for all time
and to all friends
and strangers all:
“Come, take and eat! No longer hungry be!”
The song invites us to a meal,
invites us all,
to share in native bannok and sage scent,
six nations deep and wider than our shores,
with spicy reggae flair and curry zing,
that roots of local ground might be transformed
by spice and colour of our diverse kin.
Not just for those who take and eat so easily,
the notes weave in and out:
St Joe’s, Chedoke, Shalom,
the sick leap up, pull out
their tubes, begin to dance
as cancer withers
wounds are healed.
as song weaves in and out
to Homestead, Perkins,
Barton Street. Slaves are
set free, all wounds sung whole
as power loses deathly grip
to servant love.
And as the song burst forth with life,
so too burst bonds
of wealth and might,
as alley ways are filled with homes
and all find welcome there,
as businesses wake up
to servant love,
and molten steel is melded
by the needs of earth.
The song calls forth the heavy laden,
poor in spirit—you ground down
by privilege and power:
And you who mourn,
who mourn the loss of all things good,
who mourn the violence and the pain,
be honoured with community and care.
You meek oppressed,
you humble ones, who serve,
and serve, and serve again:
inheritors of earth you are!
The trees and birds and cattle—yours
and to serve.
You hungry thirsty ones who long for justice
—you dreamers and wishers,
you hope-ers and pray-ers
you salvation criers,
come, taste and see justice!
In commerce and industry,
business and learning:
feast on justice!
Justice served up
at Mac and at Mohawk,
Redeemer and Sir Allan McNab,
Richard Beasley and HDCH.
Lip smacking justice in the workplace,
at Fortinos and at Mustard Seed.
Hamilton and you—filled with justice!
who practice compassion at Good Shepherd
and Notre Dame House, Mission Services
City Kidz and Immigrant Women’s Centre
—right back atcha. Mercy for you, too.
And you pure in heart,
you who have been longing
to see God and God only:
This is it! The song is here! God’s kingdom
come! Look and See!
who have lived shalom,
in the face of violence
you who have restored what has been destroyed,
you are the children of the singer,
the children of God,
the image bearers of the shalom-shaped Creator.
The song will call us forth.
And as we look, the city streets
will be not brick, but stone.
With river wide and trees with fruit
with healing for not only Hamilton,
but Palestine and Syria, Sudan
and the Central African Republic.
All the nations sharing,
in the joy of the song.
It will begin with a song
that calls us forth to join our voice
into the heart Hamilton.
It has begun with a song.