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“it was the land” *Shorter version:

*Written in honour of the many children who never returned home from residential schools in Canada. “it was the land” by pj johnson Poet Laureate of the Yukon.

it was the land

no one knew the evil men could do
behind closed doors
no one spoke of it
no one said sorry
and in the end
it was the land
the very land itself
that spoke

it was the land
that carried the secrets
that knew the truth
that yielded a million sorrows
that stopped us like a thunderbolt
in the streets.
god forgive us
the whispers were true

it was the land that spoke for thousands
denied a life. denied a family
denied a mother tongue
and as our grief-filled days
stretched out before us
like a blanket of fear
from the land of the Mi’kmaq to Haida Gwaii
we were numb with disbelief

for it was the land
the very land itself
that spoke to us in the darkness
in the sacred smoke of our ancestors
and in the voices of our children
who whispered on the wind
guiding us
showing us the way

telling us
there will be a time
for coming together
as a nation. as a people. and as a family
to celebrate now
and lift our brothers and sisters
as never before
our tears are never far from the surface

it always gets darker before the light comes back

pjjohnsonYukon June 24 2021

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