Community·Poetry Club

East Coast Poetry Club: Anna Quon

Anna Quon tells us more about her poem “Future Music”, one of 48 poems she wrote for charity over a two week period.

For the second week of East Coast Poetry Club, we’re sharing a work by Halifax poet Anna Quon

Welcome back to the East Coast Poetry Club. Last week, spoken word artist Kanaar Bell shared a powerful piece about listening to your inner voice. This week, we're sharing a piece from poet and artist Anna Quon. Recently, Quon wrote an astounding 48 poems during a two-week period, as a fundraiser for her favourite charity. Quon shared a diary of a day-in-the-life during that time with CBC. Here, she shares insights into her poem "Future Music", as well as two questions to ponder after you've read the piece.

Anna Quon is a writer and artist in Halifax, Nova Scotia. (Anna Quon for CBC)

Future Music was written for a young medical student who plays violin and who donated to my online fundraiser for Canadian Mental Health Association's Halifax-Dartmouth branch in March, after the WHO declared COVID-19 a global pandemic.

I was thinking back a century to the Spanish Flu and all the horrors that have come and gone, or continued, since then, and our desire sometimes to "turn back the clock" to better days, which I think is impossible, mostly because the good old days never existed. Even just before this pandemic, a time which some of us might look back to fondly, the inequities and injustices in this world were stark and startling, and are more so now.

We don't know the future, but if we work together toward a common goal of the betterment of humankind, I think there is no doubt we will hear a more beautiful music from our collective existence than we have to this point in history.

Future Music

If all the world's accordions
played in unison
the same song,
squeezing the mournful air
through corrugated lungs
until they sang,
with all their brothers,
that wistful tune
an old man on the corner
played a century ago for
pennies in a copper cup—
could we turn back the world
like a pocket watch,
or the fluttering pages of a calendar?
Could we erase the miseries
and errors of a hundred hubrid years?
but everything we do together
moves us forward
into the crisp unknowing
of the future
where a single violin
calls us to the frontier
of wild possibilities,
of a music
whose gleaming architecture
no human ear
has ever heard.

In what ways is it helpful/unhelpful to look to the past for answers to humanity's problems?

Why is music a good metaphor for the ways we can work together to create a better world?


Anna Quon is a middle-aged, mix-raced Mad woman who lives in Halifax. She likes to make things — novels, poems, paintings, short animated films, books. Anna has been writing and making art since she was a child. She came back to painting first through an outpatient art group at the Abbie J. Lane hospital in Halifax.