A poet’s convocation address

With great pleasure, Facts and Opinions publishes an essay by Canadian poet and writer Patrick Lane, which he delivered as the Convocation Address at the University of Victoria in November. An excerpt:

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Patrick Lane giving the Convocation Address at the University of Victoria, November 13, 2013. Photo courtesy of UVic Photo Services.

It is sixty-five years ago, you’re ten years old and sitting on an old, half-blind, grey horse. All you have is a saddle blanket and a rope for reins as you watch a pack of dogs rage at the foot of a Ponderosa pine. High up on a branch a cougar lies supine, one paw lazily swatting at the air. He knows the dogs will tire. They will slink away and then the cougar will climb down and go on with its life in the Blue Bush country south of Kamloops. It is a hot summer day. There is the smell of pine needles and Oregon grape and dust. It seems to you that the sun carves the dust from the face of the broken rocks, carves and lifts it into the air where it mixes with the sun. Just beyond you are three men on horses.

The essay is here, in F&O’s Commentary section, free of charge at Dr. Lane’s request.