Under the rascally prompting of You-Know-Who
an eminent ornithologist, using the American spelling
extolled the “Gray Jay” as our national feathered totem
declaring on behalf of the geographical association that
We cannot think of a more Canadian bird.

Singing his cheerful song, he can be a boon companion
for the motorist stranded on a lonesome bush road,
and if one morning he steals your bacon right off the grill
by evening the same day he will repay the debt tenfold
by depositing someone’s shiny earring on your knapsack.

With a flap of his wings he brings zephyrs from Mexico,
ensuring that the airlines will keep right on schedule
during the Christmas season when families from sea
to sea strive to reunite despite all the perils and delays
placed in their way by that other corvid, Mr. Crow.

This is the bird who wakens the hibernating bear,
and this is the one who lures the salmon upriver.
Venturing south, it is he who chirps good sense
to those politicians down in Ottawa who otherwise
would listen only to the twittering of sparrows.

He flies out beyond the tree-line to do his business
and next year I swear there’s spruce popping up
where bare tundra was before. The rate he’s going,
that little bird will soon make it to the Circle,
dragging the whole damned forest behind him.

Douglas Smith, formerly a teacher of Anthropology at York University, is a homeopathic physician.and author of several books on alternative medicine. It is claimed (although Dissident Voice has no proof of this!) that Doug and his partner grow the best garlic in Haliburton County. Read other articles by Douglas.