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Downtown Streets

August 11, 2010

A few weeks ago, I went a little bit crazy in the books section of the second hand store and bought up a bunch of Canadian and otherist fiction and poetry.

I am just starting to go through them, I always buy more books than I can read, and this poem crossed my eye. It’s called “Downtown Streets”, and its by a Canadian poet called Miriam Waddington. She studied English at U of T, and moved to North York after finishing a degree in social work where she would eventually work as a professor at York University until 1983 when she retired.

This poem appears in Impulse Volume 1 Number 2, 1973. Although the version I am using was publishsed in 15 Canadian Poets X2. I don’t know if there are any differences between the 2 texts, but I just wanted to give an idea of the time when it was written.

I, of course, liked this because it was related to letter writing in downtown Toronto.

Downtown Streets

There are still people

who write each other

intimate letters who

sing their personal arias

to an audience of white

paper; is it pain they

score, bursts of light they

note after a dark illness,

a childish jump, or some

mongrel dance-step in the

icicled rooms of snow?

Sometimes I still stand

outside a lighted window

on downtown streets (just

as I used to thirty years

ago) a woman sits at a

table writing intimate

letters, she is asking, do

you really like the smell

of my perfume, she is saying

next time you come it will

be winter the season of

mandarin oranges.

Standing there under

the window

I think I can hear

the sound

of her ghostly pen

moving across the page,

I think I can hear it


in the downtown streets.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. August 11, 2010 10:54 am

    The spacing won’t publish properly for some strange reason.

    There ought to be a space after mandarin oranges.

  2. xenialarouge permalink
    August 15, 2010 11:31 am

    we should go sit in the court rooms and write poetry. or maybe an emergency room. or, better yet, maybe in allan gardens. all three are not mutually exclusive. for now, i’m sated with or pie baking date. 🙂

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