A verse for John Mann

Posted on June 3, 2016


John Mann is 53; he is the frontman of Spirit of the West, the iconic Celtic Canadian band. He is currently living with Young Onset Alzheimer’s (YOD).

“Spirit Unforgetabble,” is a documentary about his life and journey with (YOD) that debuted this year. I urge you to watch it. Spirit of the West performed their last gig in April in Vancouver. But John sang at “Spirit of John,” a fundraiser for the Alzheimer Society of Toronto last night along with some band members. It was the first time I heard him sing. 400 others and I stood mesmerized and jubilant as we saw him perform.

John made us sing, dance, laugh, weep, cheer and celebrate all in a span of 30 minutes! Oh, and he helped the Alzheimer Society raise over $7,500 in under five minutes.

This is my ode to him.

Dear John, don’t let the music die,
Let the fire rage inside,
Don’t let this musical tide subside,
Make the tangles of your brain abide.

When you sing we cry happy tears,
Hope rises amidst (y)our fears,
May that poetry keep coming by,
Dear John, don’t ever let the music die.

You’re always the man you used to be,
The singing, the dancing, the melodies,
Your wife and band cheer merrily,
Dear John, you’ll teach us about family!

Dear John, don’t let the dancing ever end,
Happy vibes you shower and expend,
It’s never about getting the lyrics right,
It’s mostly about standing up to fight.

This may be a fight you cannot win,
But you win each time you dance and sing,
You asked, “Where’s the hope, how to cope,”
Dear John, it’s in every lyric you sang and wrote.

You give voice to those who cannot sing,
A humane face to dementia you bring,
To fans and people passing by,
Dear John, you teach us a lesson in living life.

Let the fire rage inside,
Make the tangles of your brain abide,
May that poetry keep coming by,
Dear John, your music will never die.