Thursday, March 4, 2010

Ode to sexism

“Breathes
there the man,
with soul so dead,
Who never
to himself hath said,
This is my own
my native land!
— Sir Walter Scott

By today’s standards, Sir Wally’s words are a tad sexist. Maybe poetry should be updated like the Canadian anthem?

All this Speech-from-the-Conservative-Throne talk about rewording Oh Canada to make it more gender-neutral — removing thy “sons” command — makes me fear for the Ode to Newfoundland.

And the Ode to Labrador. (Yes, there is one.)

Lines from the Newfoundland Ode to worry about include:

“And Summer spreads her hand.”

Not to mention …

“As loved our fathers so we love.”

Next to go then will be references to God …

“God guard thee, God guard thee,
God guard thee Newfoundland.”

But then Newfoundland doesn’t need guarding.

It’s all been given away.

Couldn’t resist.

Sir Cavendish Boyle, who composed the words to the Ode in 1901, is probably turning over in his grave.

So is Dr. Harry Paddon, who penned the Ode to Labrador in 1927.

Lines in the Labrador Ode to worry about:

“Responsive to the woodman’s swing”

And …

“We are thy sons while life remains.”

As for God references:

“God's noble gift to us below.”

And …

“Shall serve the purpose God ordained.”

I'm not so worried about the God references, to be honest.

We could just swap God for Danny.

Even trade.

2 comments:

Charlie Cheeseman said...

As a male I feel no insult when I read "When summer spreads her hand". Just wondering how far this type of political correctness will go. Should all references to ships omit saying "she", "her sails.."?

Dale Kirby said...

Women comprise about 56% of the federal public service and the HarperCons have decided to freeze their pay and cut their jobs.

It's enough to give anyone a Cavendish Boil.