Monsieur Joliat

When I was in grade five, in Winnipeg, Manitoba, our class, taught by Miss Blake, recited the following classic Canadian poem, by Wilson McDonald, for a school event (there, did I use enough commas in that sentence?). I used to be able to say this poem from memory for many years, and can still do the French accent pretty well. This poem was among my poetic influences as a child, demonstrating that poetry cound be entertaining—as well as emotionally or intellectually stimulating. Performing this poem with the class was also my first public performance of poetry.

Boston she ’ave good ’ockey team;

Dose Maple Leafs ees nice.

But Les Canadiens ees bes’

Dat hever skate de hice.

Morenz ’e go lak’ one beeg storm;

Syl Mantha’s strong and fat.

Dere all ver’ good, but none ees quite

So good as Joliat.

I know heem well; ’e ees ma frien’;

I doan know heem himsel’;

But I know man dat know a man

Who know heem very well.

Enfant! Dat Joliat ees full

Of hevery kind of treek.

He talk heem ’ockey all de day

And sleep heem wit’ hees stick.

He’s small but ’e ees bothersome

Lak’ ceender in de heye.

Maroons all yell: “Go get som’ Flit’

And keel dat leetle fly.”

Garcon ’e’s slippery; oui, oui—

Lak’ leetle piece of soap.

I tink nex’ time I watch dat boy

I use a telescope.

He’s good on poke-heem-check, he is;

He’s better on attack.

He run against beeg Conacher

And trow heem on hees back.

He weegle jus’ lak’ fish-worm do

Wen eet ees on a hook;

An’ wen he pass de beeg defence

Dey have one seely look.

He weigh one hundred feefty pound.

Eef he were seex feet tall

He’d score one hundred goal so queek

Dere’d be no game at all.

Wen I am tired of travail-trop

I put on coat of coon

And go to see Canadiens

Mak’ meence-meat of Maroon.

When Joliat skate out I yell

Unteel I have a pain.

I trow my ’at up in de hair

And shout, “Harrah,” again.

“Shut up, Pea Soup,” an Henglishman

Sarcastic say to me;

So I turn round to heem and yell,

“Shut up, you Cup of Tea.”

Dat was a ver’ exciting game;

De score it was a tie;

An’ den dat leetle Joliat

Get hanger een hees eye.

He tak’ a poock at hodder goal

An’ skate heem down so fas’

De rest of players seem dormir

As he was going pas’.

He was so queek he mak’ dem look

Jus lak’ a lot of clown.

An’ wen he shoot, de wind from her

Eet knock de hompire down.

Dat was de winning goal, hurrah;

De game she come to hend.

I yell, “Bravo for Joliat,

You hear he ees’ ma friend.”

De Henglishman he say, “Pardon,”

An’ he tak’ off hees hat.

“De Breetish Hempire steel ees safe

Wen men can shoot lak’ dat.”

An’ den he say, “Bravo,” as hard

As Henglishman can whoop.

“I tink to-night I’ll change from tea

To bally ole pea-soup.”