Colin Sanders annual address and new poem to graduates

We were thrilled to have Colin Sanders, our very own CityU Canada poet laureate, compose and recite a special poem to our graduating class of 2018. As has become custom, we have asked Colin permission to share it out with our greater CityU community. Thank you Colin for your always insightful thoughts and wisdom, cleverly wrapped in words to cherish.

Epistle for the CityU Vancouver, CanadaGraduating Class of June 28th 2018,

Beginning with some lines from William Wordsworth.


The world is too much with us; late and soon,

Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;—

Little we see in Nature that is ours;

We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!

This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon;

The winds that will be howling at all hours,

And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers;

For this, for everything, we are out of tune;

It moves us not…

(William Wordsworth, “The World is too Much with Us”. 1807.).


Dear graduates,

My hope for you is you be in tune, attuned,

Recognizing mind and nature are a necessary unity (Bateson),

Recognizing climate change is a construction of human industry,

And, as such, can be de-constructed, with your thought and action;

Recognizing, worldwide, that the heart and soul of democracy is threatened

And that freedom is a constant struggle (Angela Davis).


Recognize you do not need to travel afar to be of use,

And as leaders in your respective fields of education and therapy,

Your thought, labour, and action is critical in the here and now of local contexts;

And your voices and your teachings are imperative in the ongoing struggle

Toward the elimination of interpersonal violence, state directed violence, Discrimination, homophobia, environmental destruction, ecological devastation, Homelessness, child impoverishment, loneliness, alienation, estrangement.


You are commencing into a challenging world,

A world in which children are forcibly torn from their parents,

Placed in cages and drugged without consent;

A world in which walls and barricades,

Literally and figuratively,

Become erected against the suffering Other;


A world in which the Other is pathologized, marginalized, ridiculed,

Attacked, beaten, burned, drowned…


Dear graduates,

May you think about the world’s dilemmas

With a critical, inquiring, intelligence

For they are your dilemmas to untangle.


Take nothing, and no one, for granted.

Open your door to others’

Open your hearts to one another;

Exoticize the domestic (Pierre Bourdieu);

Celebrate the commonplace,

As though experiencing the commonplace,

The everyday,

For the first imaginable time.


Instill hope and love

In the hearts and souls

Of those who consult with you,

Those whom you teach;

All the while

Remembering that compassion is not enough

You must act (Dalai Lama).


May the sweet eros of inquiry (Bernard Lonergan)

Flourish and abide within your lives, relationships, and teachings

As the world is too much with us…


– Colin James Sanders.