The Tree Northeast of the Legislature Buildings in Victoria, B.C. Circa 1974


(Wikipedia image)


We had a good thing going,
living under that 70-foot Sequoia,
the way those graceful
branches reached around and down to the ground,
creating a natural domicile.

Daily order of business:
~ morning constitution in the oak-trimmed east-wing washroom;
~ bicameral stroll on Wharf and Government Street;
~ standing committee on the location of affordable clam chowder;
~ caucus meeting in the shade of the Empress Hotel,
         at consideration: the beauty of masonry covered in Boston ivy;
~ afternoon sitting: on the walls of Inner Harbour,
         legislating among the long-legged, tube-top tourists;
~ sunset assembly at the Beaver Pub, royal prerogative:
         terry-towel tablecloths and twenty-five cent draft,
         debates, rebuttals, proposals, and 2 AM adjournment—
full slate of meetings, appointments, consultations—important work.

We were in session every day that summer.
It was all going well, until the day someone was moved,
private members’ bill notwithstanding, 
to hang his laundry on the outside of the tree.

The Sergeant-at-Arms could not feign inattention, 
not in the middle of the august Packard Convention,
not with all those tweed-capped, leather-elbowed tax-payers,
and their calabash whale-bone pipes,
broguing about their sixteen-cylinder road boats.
The dissolution of parliament was immediate.

It was a miserable winter on Sault Spring,
in those plastic tents that did not prorogue
the damp and the cold.
And the sound of unremitting rain on the fly-sheet
was not romantic.


  1. yes ,, 1974 , early days in the metropolis Mayerthorpe, John , Mike and I were camped only 2 minutes from the Hub Hotel,, also with terry towel tables full of 25cent draught ,, we didn,t have the splendour of sequoia tents and sea views but the local lasses loved the Beatle accents… those were truly the halcyon days of youth and lack of responsibilities,,, nothing ever stays the same ,, and ,, thank God we all move onward and upward … Phil

  2. Oh, Steve! This has to be one of your finest! I love it. Send it off somewhere. You may remember that the last time I gave you that advice the results were satisfying. Keep on keeping on. It’s so entertaining and instructive for your followers!

  3. Wonderful, Steve. Reminds me of my own time in Victoria – circa the early 70s (I think we tracked you down somewhere there too). Never found the 25-cent draft:(. Did find $3.00 Irish coffees though! and were entertained on the inside of that legislature during their question period listening to Premier Dave Barrett and Opposition leader Bill Bennett have at each other. I suspect your legislative proceedings were a tad more productive!

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