Sikhism Sugar, Steel And The Maple Leaf: The Poems Of A Young Sikh Canadian


SUGAR, STEEL AND THE MAPLE LEAF "The poems of a Young Sikh Canadian" is a book of poetry by Harmohanjit Singh Pandher. It is quite old (printed in 2001)... but it has only become more lovely with time. When I first found it on the poetry shelf at the library, I came home, copied out some poems and pasted them on my wall... it was a gem because it cherished everything from shabad, to the lives of the gurus, to Trudeau, to ice was about us.

I would like to share some parts of poems from this book because not only did it celebrate the best of both worlds, but it also acknowledged the difficulties and doubts young sikh canadians face with identity. It is very dear to me so I'd like to share:

Tying a turban
Is like riding a bike:
You never forget how,
But sometimes along the path,
You might just forget why.

When you fall off your bike,
You scrape your knee,
When you take off your turban,
You stab your soul,
But there's no bandage
For a scab on your soul.

If you fall off your bike,
You fall flat on your face,
If you take off your turban,
You fall a little bit from grace.

The day my turban returned,
I realised we never
Really parted company,
It was just parked in my heart
For a few winters
Of discontent and curiosity.

And while curiosity
May have killed the cat,
In my case- a lion's case-
Dissatisfaction brought me
Roaring all the way back...
And then some.

The grass isn't always
Greener on the other side,
I should know,
I've walked on the other side,
And it looks diseased,
And a little bit yellow...."

on an island of illusions
you're the only thing that's real,
as I reach for the stars at night
it's only you that I feel

in times of turmoil
you're the only thing that's calm,
whenever I least expect it
you caress my cheek with your palm

on mountains of madness
you're the only thing that's sane,
if ever I ski over the edge
only you can bring me back again

in fields of folly
you're the only thing that's right,
as I wander around in darkness
you alone show me the light

in rooms of rapture
you're the only thing I see,
no matter which door I enter
you're the only one for me."

I am neither Hindu, Muslim nor American,
I am a rather unique kind of citizen,
I am a Sikh Canadian.

I will not sink in a cesspool or a melting pot,
I do not let East and West pull me apart,
I am a Sikh Canadain.

I have a Queen and I belong to Ten True Kings,
I have two national anthems to sing,
I am a Sikh Canadian.

I share with millions a majestic middle name,
I play ice hockey, my national game,
I am a Sikh Canadian..."

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