Canada of the Future
Canada’s leaders of tomorrow shared their perspectives on youth engagement.
On the Devon Island Glacier
by Inuk writer and C3 youth ambassador Aviaq Johnston (Iqaluit, Nunavut)
I walk along the path of a glacier
A receding ice cap
It reminds me of my grandmother.
The way she shrank
Before I saw her last.
I walk upon the glacier, upon her remaining limbs,
And even though she is incomprehensibly powerful
My grandmother once was, too.
Upon her I see the tears flow over her skin.
Each step causes her to let out a croak of breath.
She sounds like my grandma.
Each second, she is closer to another piece
breaking from her body.
Another finger, another organ, another bone.
I remember my father telling me that
My grandma only had one lung.
And it was nice to see her,
My grandmother, today.
What Becomes of a River that Meets the Ocean?
by newcomer student and C3 youth ambassador Dardia Garcelle Joseph, (Terrebonne, Que)
What becomes of a river that meets an ocean?
In this infinite space that gives way to our senses.
In this void that we cannot describe.
In this vastness too great to be ransacked
by our eyes.
Unless each of these bodies of water loses a part
of itself to become a part of another?
Does the ocean remember the names of all the
waves it holds?
Or does it ultimately forget the echoes of the
rivers that have been ignited from within?
Moreover, will the “I” always and unrelentingly
fade into the “we”?
If so, who shall mark its demise?
Because once the “we” becomes the gaping mouth
of a lover
Once it looks for a place to call home
I wonder, will any kerosene remain to ignite the indentations of our veins?
Once our rivers meet the ocean
Between the “I” and the “we” there are a thousand ways to go astray
A thousand ways to find ourselves again
The blues that grip our hearts
In all these phrases that form in our minds
In this condensation of words that make our internal thermometers rise
In the sudden exhales
The liveliness of our voices
But also, to lose oneself
In the incomplete puzzles of unsolvable crosswords,
In the gaps of knitted stitches
In the impossible choices, the compromises
And make of our hearts
Stones to throw in pastures
At the callousness of roads
To go astray
In the cracks of age
In the words taken from the silence of words unsaid
A flaw in the whiff of what was and what no longer is
Between the “I” and the “we”
Between the river and the ocean
We take comfort
In the lull of bodies that have stopped striving
Perhaps, in the end, we don’t care what becomes of the river when it meets the ocean
It just becomes.
And perhaps that, in itself is sufficient
And perhaps between the “I” and the “we”
There is no universal response. Only solitudes that have been tamed
Water that is neither salt nor fresh,
In which life has its rights and its intricacies of mysteries that transform
Let us live in the present tense
Let us cultivate the culture of being, and not of having
And when we, the rivers, meet an ocean
Even if there remains not a single drop of kerosene to ignite the indentation of our veins
I have faith
We shall not send our tongues to die in the deserts of blind obedience
We shall be
Fires of Bengal, ripping through the darkness.