Arts and Music

Hamilton, Hamilton

Submission to the City of Hamilton's Mayor's Poetry Challenge.

By Kevin Somers
Published April 20, 2015

My submission to the City of Hamilton's Mayor's Poetry Challenge.

Hamilton, Hamilton; the famous Steel City
With big smoking stacks
It's hard and it's gritty

Hamilton, Hamilton; the Waterfall City
It's green and it's lush
And incredibly pretty

Hamilton, Hamilton; the Volunteer City
Where beautiful souls
Act on their pity

Hamilton, Hamilton; the Ambitious City
We'll get it done
By hook or committee

The escarpment cuts the Hammer in two
And it's ridge provides a wonderful view
Of the city below, the lake, and the bay
Where the mills of steel are on full display
Watch them closely, as they slowly decay

Steel, of course, built this town
It brought Hamilton world-renown

For decades and decades all was grand
Then, other folk, from other lands
Show up here with other plans
Smacking chops and rubbing hands
Indifferent to the toll they'd take
On the city by the lake

The mills, of course, are being hammered down
Kicked around
Pounded right into the ground
Dragged into the bay and drowned

Rust, we know, doesn't sleep
And others make steal really cheap
Industries come and epochs die
So, with glistening tears in every eye
We'll gather here to say good-bye

But, you can't keep a good town down
Watch the Hammer bouncing back
We're setting sail on a brand new tack
Polishing up the stainless crown
Destined, again, to be renowned

Highly technical technologies
Higher Educational faculties
And R & D facilities
Are emerging industries
Providing opportunities
Our hands of steel, with ease, will seize
And from these we will squeeze
Life and all its pleasantries

With sky high fires
And smoke stack spires
Steel city, really, truly inspires
So, artists clamour to the Hammer
With its open arms
And soot-gilded glamour

I've been inspired by The Hammer a time or two...
Often, after, more than a few
Once I wrote a limerick
Once a Haiku:

Hamiltonians

Our castle's a house
Our mountain's an escarpment
We think really big

It's fun to write a Hammer Haiku
You should try it, too

In Toronto, T. O., T-dot, a.k.a., The Big Smoke
The Hammer is sometimes, somewhat of a joke
Subjected to larks, snarks, and disparaging remarks
By some of Toronto's fancier folk

But, I have a different point of view
Evidently, lots of others do, too
I'd say, in fact, Toronto, the jokes on you

Down by the bay and right to the core
Playwrights, composers, musicians... galore
Are flocking to Hamilton, by the score

Toronto, it seems, they cannot afford
Each new arrival means Hamilton scored
"You are the buttheads!" the hometown roared

(I reference, of course, the Toronto Sun
Who, at our expense, had great fun
Calling Hamiltonians names, each and everyone
For declaring Dear Leader (Sheila) our Number One Son

Consider the source, of course:
The Toronto Sun and their drooling hoard
Have supported all the things that are Ford
Now, Toronto The Good can't be restored
Hog Town, again, is their just reward)

Hamilton's home to beautiful beats
The sound of song comes from the streets
A hit machine of every type:
Jazz, blues, rock, opera, classical
Punk, funk, rap, pop, and musicals theatrical
Have listen, believe the hype

In Hamilton, there's plenty to do
It's wide and it's open and mostly free, too

To cure yourself of much that ails
The Hammer is riddled with beautiful trails
The Bruce, I declare, never fails
To help me write my happy tales:

As sunlight shines between the trees
Or casts its shadows on fallen leaves
I see and hear beautiful birds
While in my head I play with words
Sometimes it feels a little queer
As if my God is very near

There are fields, parks, arenas, and pools
Libraries, hospitals, public schools...
Mac and Mohawk are at the top of their class
Sparkling gems in a city of jewels

There're problems, for sure, we can't ignore
The sick and homeless, who live in the core
The lost, and the lonely, and the hopelessly poor

But, time and time again they've shown
The people of Hamilton look after their own

It may have been hit, but there's no way that it's down
(Penitentiary) steel is the heart of this town
Attempts to derail it are destined to fail
If you step on The Hammer, you step on a nail

It might not be easy, it might not be fun
And everyone knows there's work to be done
But, Hamilton is sure to re-emerge Number One

It's time to conclude my Hamilton ditty:
Hamilton, Hamilton, my Heavenly City

Kevin Somers is a Hamilton writer.

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