That Day in Sandwich

Oct 18, 2017 QUEEN’S PARK—Today in the Ontario legislature, Windsor-Tecumseh MPP Percy Hatfield delivered a Member's Statement that included recited poetry describing a memorable visit to Windsor by Sir John A. Macdonald.

Watch the video:

The full statement is below:

Mr. Percy Hatfield: In appreciation of Random Acts of Poetry Day held every October, a group of seven poets in Windsor have a new book out recognizing our colourful history.

Our poet laureate, Marty Gervais, wrote this one about a much-publicized visit to Windsor many years ago by Sir John A. Macdonald. It’s called That Day in Sandwich with the Prime Minister.

His voice a singsong normally

Whole sentences drifting out

And rising and falling

But forever lost in a monotone

As he paced back and forth

Before the crowd

Scowling at his opponent.

Today in Sandwich

Sir John A. is silent

And seated, smug and

Staring at the stage floor

In this open-air debate

A drunken stupor clouding

Mackenzie’s reasoned jargon

Ripping into him

Scandal and hearsay

With political wrangle

Sir John A. slumps in a chair

Lingering for that moment

To lift his frumpy but narrow frame

To tower before the crowd

And warily waves a crooked finger

All the while struggling

To retrieve the right word

In this scandal and hearsay

And political wrangle

Then suddenly

Vomits over the stage

An abrupt hush

And Sir John A.’s left hand

Almost in slow motion

Reaches for a handkerchief

Tucked deep within

The pockets of his waistcoat

Then swabs his mouth

And eyes agape

He begins his apology

And turns to his opponent

And with a polite and civil nod of his head

He says “Mr. Chairman,

I don’t know how it is

But every time I hear

The honourable gentleman speak

It turns my stomach!”

Speaker, it’s a great book. It’s called Because We Have All Lived Here: Poems Along the South Shore, and it was edited by your poet laureate from Brantford, John B. Lee.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Hence the extra time. I know that story too.