Good governance: the poem

by Jini Stolk

Which is more surprising? That someone wrote a poem about good governance or that it’s so delightful?

The someone is George Elliott Clarke, Toronto’s Poet Laureate (a good to have), and the poem is Principles of Good Governance, which I’ve been rereading and thinking about since it appeared in the Toronto Star last month.

Its verses take the form of aphorisms about democracy, equality, reason, lawmaking, the economy: a fine and succinct set of maxims for elected and government officials and of interest, I would imagine, to us all.

But it’s in the sections On Economy and On Beauty where good government and good governance (in the sense we’re used to thinking about) begin to meet. “Beauty demands Maintenance“, “Diversity rouses Beauty,” “Spending should be like planting, Never like eating”, “Nurture Infrastructure, Agriculture, Manufacture, Architecture, Arts & Culture – To richly prosper”, “Revere children; respect elders”, “Good Style wins popularity; Good Deeds inspire reverence.”

Make of it what you will, just as I’m doing.

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