The Queen Elizabeth 2nd GardensA Poem by Chris G. Vaillancourt
It used to be called 'Sunken Gardens',
this section of the park. Now it is called
'The Queen Elizabeth 2nd Gardens'
because Her Majesty visited them.
She wore a pale blue dress that day.
I remember because my sisters and I
were in the crowd. Like the others,
we stared at the Royal 'She' in awed
tones of respect and curiosity.
In high school, we used the park to
escape the hum-drum of our classes.
Hiding behind the trees and flowers
so that the jailers from the nearby
school windows would not capture us
in our freedom. We were bold in
our youth. Finely chiseled minds in
adolescent toned bodies.
We'd sit under a tree, smoking and
planning the adventure our lives would be.
None of us would conform, or so we
promised each other and ourselves.
We'd be bold flashes of novelty forever
striking a match to light the flames of
resistance to middle class lives.
We were children of the sixties,
teenagers of the 1970's. Our hopes
and dreams were not the same as
our parents. No, we did not want
to have the white picket fence! Instead
we planned on how we'd take the fences
apart and use the wood to build
alternative ways of existing. Our plans
were brave and solid, our dreams
we would make become our reality.
Now, as I walk through the park
as a grown man, well into my descent
towards my grave, I recall those vain
words we spoke. Those brittle, youthful
proclamations of a new beginning that we
were assured of becoming. None of us
really followed those dreams. The harsh
bells of the 'real world' would not stop
ringing. Most of us became our parents
all over again. Talk of freedom and
self-expression gave way to worries over
the mortgage and the bills. Working overtime
so the kids can have a new pair of jeans.
They still call it the 'Queen Elizabeth 2nd
Gardens'. The flowers are still carefully
planted every spring by the Department of
Parks and Recreation. Sometimes I come and
watch the young bodies at work digging the
soil and planting the flowers in neat, tidy rows.
Her Majesty has not visited Windsor in
quite a long time. Her picture on the money
makes her look older. Of course, she is older
but then so am I. Indeed, so are all the faces
I remember with fondness in my mind.
If I sit quietly on one of the benches,
and I slow down my breathing just a tad, I
can almost hear again our voices planning
the future none of us would have.
© 2011 Chris G. Vaillancourt
Shelved in 2 LibrariesAdded on March 24, 2011
Last Updated on March 24, 2011
Chris G. Vaillancourt
Windsor, Ontario, Canada
AboutOver 200 of my poems have appeared in more than one hundred journals in the U.S. and Canada, in Japan and Australia, and the U.K. I have had a series of chapbooks published in the 1980's by 4 Wi.. more..
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