Poem: Rideau Canal

Hello all! I wrote this poem after reading a bunch of Wordsworth’s sonnets (although – a bunch is a relative term, since I read somewhere recently that he wrote 535). In terms of both content and especially  rhyme scheme, this poem was written with some of those sonnets in mind. I should also mention that the Rideau Canal is a beautiful waterway running right through the middle of Ottawa. In the winter it is literally a road, as people skate on it (it’s a big tourist attraction, but there are also those who take the opportunity to skate to work).

Rideau Canal

The water is a photo: strips and stills,
Darkrooms. The sun has nestled lower, deep
In branches that dip down to let it creep
Across them. Slowly sinking as it spills
Over the sky, messy, breaking, it fills
The –
            No – the water is a painting, and
The ripples moving brushstrokes, and the land
A frame; the sun a sloppy stain that kills
Or blisters colour.
                                   Best to say, maybe,
The water is a road. And as the sun
Slips down into the city, almost one
Might think the light that’s settling there could see
A path on which to build and blind, one long
Highway to run from night, and to grow strong.

2 thoughts on “Poem: Rideau Canal”

  1. Melissa, I am reading Rideau Canal and thinking of you in Ottawa today. Thank you for such a moving poem.

    1. Thank you Arden, that means a lot. A very scary week – the stretch of the canal I had in mind is right beside the War Memorial.

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