Poetry at Charlottetown City Hall

PEI Poet Laureate Dianne Hicks Morrow’s introductory comments at Charlottetown City Hall monthly council meeting, 13 May 2013:

Thank you for participating in the 2013 Mayor’s Poetry City Challenge, a national initiative begun by the mayor of Regina in partnership with the Saskatchewan Writers’ Guild and the League of Canadian Poets. I believe part of my mandate as poet laureate is to make poetry less intimidating and more fun, so here goes… When I read Mayor Lee’s biography on the City website, I decided his long-service record deserved a sonnet (must be only 14 lines) in dramatic monologue form. In a dramatic monologue the “I” (Mayor Lee here) speaks to an unidentified “you”:

Dramatic Monologue in Mayor Lee’s Voice: A Sonnet

Dianne Hicks Morrow reads at Charlottetown City Council's monthly meetingYou asked me how the clarion call came
to seek office twenty-six years ago.
If I’d known then the municipal games—
hotel havoc, failed festivals, water woes—
I might never have run at all, kind sir.
But here we are, and I’ve run and I’ve run—
just like the energizer bunny blur—
obviously I’m still having some fun.

You say you want more advice from me:
how to break my record for longevity?
Here’s my hot tip for free—you’ll need to be
on the good side of Catherine Hennessey*
That way lies your blessing. In a nutshell—
any other way won’t go quite so well.

I invite other mayors across PEI to take part in the poetry challenge next April… Thank you.

* Catherine Hennessey is a well-known heritage activist on PEI who has successfully influenced heritage policy at Charlottetown City Hall during Mayor Lee’s tenure.

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