The Gift of Donovan

A frigid November day in Barrie, Ontario, 1967,

Wednesday, I remember;

We had just come from Novena Devotions.

Mark led me downtown to the town’s one record store,

“For a surprise,” he said.

 

The proprietor was in on this, I soon realized,

watching him head

to the stacks of wooden slots on the wall

and retrieve a 45 disc in its small paper sleeve.

 

The needle on the vinyl

dispensed a melody through the small shop,

And then Donovan’s innocent accented voice,

Colour sky havana lake

Colour sky rose carmethene

Alizarian crimson…

 

Next, the bewitching refrain,

Lord, kiss me once more

Fill me with song

Allah, kiss me once more

That I may, that I may…

 

Wear my love like heaven…

 

Worlds, colours I had not yet heard of,

at the age of 15.

 

Yet, I sensed the magic of which he sang.

 

I went on to my life, Mark to his.

 

Not long after he died, still a young man,

never giving me the chance to thank him for his gifts that day,

for seeing me in a way I had never seen myself,

as a girl worthy of devotion,

for giving me,

in that dead-end town,

an impossibly beautiful song.

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