The poem composed and delivered by Colin Sanders for Arden’s farewell

Nobody says it better through words composed to the page, then CityU Canada’s poet laureate, Colin Sanders. We asked, and were granted permission to share to a larger community, the poem that Colin composed and read for Arden Henley, our now retired VP and Principal Canadian Programs, at his farewell celebration June 29th.

Thank you Colin for all you do. This really does summarize so well the heart and soul that Arden imparted on the CityU Canada community.

A Pastiche for Arden Henley

On the Occasion of his Retirement

From CityU Canada

June 2018.


What a long, strange, trip it’s been… (Grateful Dead).

Poetry celebrates that the world exists… (Stanislas Breton.)

Call the world if you please, ‘The vale of soul-making’ then you will find the use of the world (John Keats).


Dear Arden,

Fellow traveler, comrade in dissent,

Husband, father, grandfather,

Gardener, philosopher, poet

Forever tracing lines of flight (Deleuze),

Articulating a poetics

Of liberation,

A poetics

Of belonging,

A poetics of the sacred.

Once upon a time

You imagined a multiversity,

A space within which possibilities could become realized…..

You and Mary cultivated a community,

Sharing a belief that,

What does not change / is the will to change (Charles Olson).

You opened space

For others to experience

The alchemy of transformation,

You made



All the years combine / they melt into a dream (Robert Hunter/Jerry Garcia),

A vision dream you held onto, believed in,

By persevering, remaining committed, practicing patience,

Adhering to the belief,

The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways.

The point, however, is to change it (Karl Marx).


Accomplishing a middle way between

Reason over passion (Pierre Elliot Trudeau),

Adeptly navigating mazes of institutional bureaucracy

Amid the neoliberal political economy,

You remained all the while committed to cultural autonomy

And a creative, responsive, relational pedagogy.


Your departure

Creates an absence;

Opens an abyss.


Those of us remaining,

Will keep alive

Stories of your time,

Storylines igniting smoldering embers of memory

As tales are told and re-told…as if around a hearth:

“Remember, when…”.


Your journey completed,

Your intentions fulfilled,

Accomplishments punctuated and noted,

So it is, this evening, we bid you adieu

In full awareness we will meet again,

Contributing to the tapestry of soul-making

& new times…


Hummingbird, crow, sea gull, robin, woodpecker, eagle, hawk.

Raccoon, bear, bear cub, doe, fawns, elk, cougar.

Roots, rhizomes, emerald mossy trees, rain wet illuminated tapestry of branches and boughs.

Cold mountain streams flowing, plant and flower medicines, stars, and moon tidal flows.


Adieu my friend,

I read, walk, listen, dream and write among companions. These pieces do not belong to me” (Robin Blaser).


Colin James Sanders.