On Friday, March 22 at The Treat Me Right Café on Markham Street in Toronto, Paul Art (Paul Arteau), a poet, performed perhaps the first public pro-life poetry reading in the city of Toronto.
“Performed” is the key word here as Paul Art’s poetry is not read and not so much recited as it is performed.
Paul Art sang his “Your Baby’s Gone” to the guitar accompaniment of his musician friend Luc Debouvier. He sang and chanted “Baby Doom,” “Tiny Baby to Be,” and “Hymn to the Unborn” with no musical accompaniment except the loud rhythmic slapping of his open left hand against his blue-jeaned leg. In one piece, titled “Sticks ‘n Stones for Life” he accompanied himself, playing the spoons which produced a sound reminiscent perhaps of sticks and stones rattling together.
Paul rehearses his poetry performances much as any actor rehearses what he might do on stage. He said that before his appearance at the Treat Me Right Café he found “a good acoustic space” in which to practice two hours a day for two weeks in preparation for this presentation.
Of the nine pieces performed, seven were distinctly pro-life in theme. “Nuclear Wasteland” and “African Beat” contained anti-war perceptions and surrealist imagery. “African Beat” appears in the poet’s self-published and self-printed bilingual book Pele-Mele. He is hoping to find a commercial publisher for a manuscript of his latest poems, including the pro-life pieces titled “Peace Means No Evil.”
He organized what was first known as the “Artists League for Alpha.” In his own words, “It is an artists’ cultural group choosing to devote itself to the plight of the unborn. It will be known as Artists for Life.”
Paul is a graduate of OCA (Ontario College of Art) and his current project is to paint a large mural (eight feet by nine feet) to correspond to his vision of “Baby’s Peace in the Womb.” He says that “Ever since I fell in love with the beauty of the child in the womb, my life as an artist has never been more creative. Continuous inspiration! I believe I’ve hit upon a secret.”
Paul Art says that those who might wish to join Artists for Life or contribute to the completion of the painting project may do so by sending a donation to:
749 Meadowvale Road
West Hill, Ontario
Hymn to the Unborn
Walking along thru the floating, playful snowflakes,
Such a mischievous, chilly breeze that blows them about
You really love to see them scatter fluffy from here
to there and everywhere
Many rows of silvery icicles hanging long to short,
from house to house maybe even from our own
“Hey, you would have gotten a tiny, red sleigh
for Christmas this year.”
Two years old and already sliding down the hill
“Having fun?”, I would say –
Your giggles and laughter – and me calling you
Such a great child you are.
But now dampened by a winter that remains cold and
distant like it knows what is going on
The sight of those snowhills brings only tears to my eyes
Maybe to even cry
Far more colder than winter the influential medical world
cut your life short …
and forcefully made it known to me,
“You cannot prevent it. You have no rights!!”
Empty are these falling footsteps crunching the snow
Sadness stills the heart – to serve as a sure reminder
the love bond between us – forever
“I wish you were here.”