Toronto Is
Poem by Gail Taylor

March 7, 2013

“Toronto” is

a tap on the tongue like buttered bagels salted and hot

on Baldwin at dawn, toasted to a ‘t’ at the top.


“ToRonTo” is

a basket of consonants in Kensington

haggling for wicker and kumquat and duck.


“TOR! ON! TO!” is

the crack of Moodie’s gun at noon from Montgomery’s,

when a rebel carves a wrinkle in Canada’s Upper half.


Listen: “Toronto.”

It’s the staccato of stilletos at Eglinton:  the Office lets out to lunch.


“Toronto.” Hear it?

The sonorous call of Huron along the Humber in the mist of afternoon—

“Oak tree rising”—before the diaspora of Europe comes flooding in.


“Traawn” is

the nasal drawl of teens at the malls, lazing in mannered,

deceiving festivals of smoke. School’s out. They’ll not be adults yet.


“To-ron-to” is

the sound the sunset makes at King and Bay, bouncing from tower to ’scraper to spire,

echoes of gold on the rim of Mammontown.



Prairie people and the rest of Canada love to hear you say

it means old word for “Cotu, Centre of the Universe.” Trust me. Try it.


“Address? Toronto.”

Adopted city of over four million, some pulled by choice, some pushed by fate.

A few will eschew sleep tonight and trawl its corridors instead.



Neither a legato name nor a liquid sound,

but a state of mind to a drumming beat. “Toronto.”

7 Responses to Toronto Is
Poem by Gail Taylor

  1. kath on March 13, 2013 at 1:51 am

    Love the sounds and rhythms of this poem. Way to go Gail.

  2. Sally Braun-Jackson on March 13, 2013 at 1:23 pm

    Oh! This poem brings back a lot of memories from when I lived in T.O. years ago. The city doesn’t seem to have change one bit! I love how you play with the way people pronounce “Toronto”. It conveys the multiplicity of identities of the city. Thanks for this, Gail.

  3. David Layton on March 14, 2013 at 1:24 am

    Great poem, Gail. Toronto almost doesn’t deserve your beautiful praise. Plus it made me hungry. I’m going to get a buttered bagel salted and hot…

  4. Ellen Fichtenbaum on March 14, 2013 at 8:35 pm

    Gail - this is a terrific poem…and so lovely when read aloud. It’s almost musical!! Thanks for sending it. And congratulations.

  5. Gail Taylor on March 16, 2013 at 1:19 am

    Thank you for the gratifying resoonse. It was fun creating this poem about my town. Gail.

  6. Dennis Bradshaw on March 16, 2013 at 8:47 pm

    Very clever selections….Keep on writing….Well done Gail.

  7. Mary Redekop on March 27, 2013 at 10:36 pm

    Gail, this is absolutely delightul! Thank you! It’s the city that I have known and loved for 3/4 of a century, and you have captured it all. You are a sculptor of words.

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