Edwardian and Georgian Canadian Poets
Songs Unbidden
9th Jan 2014Posted in: Edwardian and Georgian Canadian Poets 0

[3 blank pages]

SONGS UNBIDDEN
By
The
PROSPECTOR

VICTORIA PRINTING & PUBLISHING CO.
Victoria, B.C.
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Foreword

   This little book of verse is fraternally dedicated to prospectors everywhere, whether they travel over the burning sands of the southern deserts, “mush” across the frozen tundras of the far North, penetrate along the great water-ways of the Pre-Cambrian shield, or climb the steep forested slopes of the Cordilleran ranges in search of the buried treasures of old Mother Earth: also to those brothers in spirit, who, buried in laboratory and study, wrest from Nature her secrets to devote them to the advancement of Man: and to the trail blazers in religion and sociology who are paring humanity for the conquest of War and Poverty.

AUTHOR.
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Contents
PART I.

Ripple Marks

9

The Prospector

10

When Mischa Elman Plays the Violin

21

The Mountain

22

Whip-Poor-Will

23

The Storm King

25

Manitoulin

27

The Mists

28

Moonlight in the Rockies

29

PART II.

A Doubting Thomas Returns to His Faith

30

The Materialist

32

The Iconoclast

34

The Prodigal Repents

36

The Spiritualist

37

The Sensitive

39

The Theosophist

40

The Neophyte to His Master

41

The Monist

42

Omar Khayyam

44

The Riddle of the Universe

45

Father Pat

48

[page 5]

 

PART III.

 

Christmas Eve on the Chisana Trail

51

The Chilcoten’s Dream

54

Sporty Gunn

56

The Old Scout’s Prejudice

59

Ode to a Rattlesnake

60

The Chainman’s Lament

61

The Wisdom of Moccasin Pete

65

Killed by Ore Slide

66

The “High-Falutin’ Prospector” Finds Radium

68

A Boy at Sixty-Three

70

The Gold Seeker

71

The Tale of the Moveable Mine

73

 

PART IV.

 

John Ruskin

104

The New Knight Errant

106

The Gogahee

107

The Inarticulate Age Awaits Its Voice

111

The Builders

113

The Industrialist

115

The Passing World

117

Trouble and Talk of Trouble

118

The Army of Freedom

119

Brothers Rise

120

How Much Longer

122

Comrade

124

The Survival of the Fittest

126

“O Island of Dreams”

128

[page 6]
Liebknect and Jaurés

130

Progress

132

PART V.

The Enchantress

134

A Child Went Wandering

136

Play Me Something, Dearest

137

Would Your Dear Lips Smile in Welcome

141

The Old Man’s Vision

142

Mother Love

143

Roses I Send to You

144

The Old Year

145

Granny

147

Margaret

148

Doubt

150

Send No Flowers

151

The Death of Love

155

You Must Not Grieve

156

Virgin’s Lullaby

158

The Musician to His Love

159

Why?

161

I Wonder

162

Star of the Evening

163

The Discouraged Poet

165

Aspiration

167

Friendship

168

Love’s Astronomy

169

[page 7]
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Ripple Marks

High tide on the shore of a Cambrian sea,
And a fresh breeze blowing toward the land
Sent soft waves curling far up on the sand
Sculpturing ripple marks jauntily.

The deep blue waters long have fled,
And a mountain chain now rises high,
With jutting, ragged peaks to the sky,
Formed from the ancient ocean’s bed.

Grey quartzites, shaped like a long redoubt,
Released this slab; on its surface plays,
The sun, as in distant Cambrian days
When the crystal waters fashioned it out.

So, as the far years endlessly run,
How do we know, but a tone or a look,
Embedded perchance in a song or a book.
May live again in the sun? [page 9]

The Prospector

I

On a Mountain Trail

Low hang the pearl-grey draperies of the mist,
A changing mantle ‘round the changeless hills,
Its winter-child, the snow, protecting from the ills,
That stripped low ranges by the sun warm-kissed.

Fresh from their sleep the sunflow’rs deck our way.
In golden-yellow glory drinking in
The sun-rays, shining through the mist-veil thin,
In those sweet hours which usher in the day.

The stream, now free again from icy bonds,
Of summit snows and gloomy canyon sings,
And wanton-wild its silver-white spray flings
In soft caresses o’er the fern’s green fronds. [page 10] 

The twitter and the song of birds that nest,
Grow drowsy as the sun-god mounts the sky:
The pines grow pungent in the heat,—and I,
Would drop my pack upon the grass and rest.

I

The Camping Place

O brave, green level, bordered by the streams,
Encompassed by the stern grim-visaged hills,
Fringed all around with stately pine and fir
That rear in solemn majesty their heads.—

Here will we rest as sinking to the west
The gold sun bathes in his effulgent glow
The rivers, trees and hills, and every glade
Seems hallowed in the yellow mist of light.

Here as the curtains of descending eve
Like shadow wings sweep out across the sky,
And twinkling star-fires gleam, now here, now there,
We’ll build our pleasant camp fire large and bright. [page 11]

III

The Night Storm

The winds withhold their cooling breath,
The air is hot and still as death,
While sullen clouds portentous lie,
Piled black along the eastern sky.

Chirr of squirrel or song of bird
Is not within the valley heard,
But from the sombre-looking cloud
The angry mutt’rings grow more loud.

Swift falls the night o’er hill and dale;
Its bat-wings hide the winding trail:
The woodsman rests his weary form
And anxious, waits the coming storm.

Coy Sleep deserts his heavy eyes—
Affrighted by the fiery skies
Whose thousand forkèd lightnings bind
The east and west with flames that blind. [page 12]

The thunder roars—a deaf’ning sound
That echoes through the hills around,—
Re-echoes—like Satanic mirth,
And strikes the startled quaking earth.

          *     *     *     *     *     *

The wind is rising! hark the moan!
The swiftly swelling undertone!
From lordly pine to fragile rose,
The forest wakes from its repose.

Now woe to pine, though stout and round,
Whose roots take hold on shallow ground;
And woe to fir whose tremblings mark
Dry rot beneath deceitful bark!

Down-crashing in the storm they go
And strew the quiv’ring earth below!
A fair outside can naught avail
To fend the fury of the gale.

Note yonder pine, majestic, strong,
Who bends not with the meaner throng; [page 13] 
His black plumes tossing in the wind
Seen scornful of his weaker kind.

Mistaken strength! mistaken pride!
The lightning flashes far and wide—
The lightning strikes his tow’ring head,
And lays the haughty monarch dead!

See, now the pent-up heaven breaks,
And havoc wild and wide it makes
Upon the suff’ring earth beneath
With biting hail, like dragon’s teeth.

          *     *     *     *     *     *

What cries are those the woodsman hears
That pale his cheek with sudden fears?
A weeping child, a wand’ring sprite,
A lost soul wailing down the night?

Now hear it, shrill above the gale,
Its notes ascending scale on scale;
It mingles with the thunder’s roar,
Then sinking low, is heard no more. [page 14]

The woodsman waits his stealthy foe
Who marks him from the glade below;
With straining eyes he strives to pierce
The gloom that hides the panther fierce.

Two balls of fire glare through the night
That chill the woodsman’s blood with fright;
His leveled rifle seeks the eyes—
It speaks—the forest ruffian dies!

He dies with screaming cry of pain
And stiffens in the falling rain:
No longer need the timid deer
His prowess or his cunning fear!

          *     *     *     *     *     *

The wind has run its swiftest course,
The driving rain abates its force;
No longer do the thunders crash,
Or blinding lightnings flame and flash.

The black cloud breaks and scattered flies,
The stars gleam down from inky skies, [page 15]
Silence profound enfolds the land,
While dripping trees expectant stand.

See yonder, o’er the eastern hills,
A sickly light the darkness kills;
Pale-grey it creeps the woods along,
And every moment grows more strong.

How welcome after darkness lorn,
The first faint herald of the morn!
Swift-winged it glides from height to height
Till all the land is filled with light.

Till all the land is light!—not all—
The mists are hanging like a pall
O’er yonder frowning granite peak—
The clouds are thick—the light is weak!

But now the dim and ghost-like trees
Are whisp’ring in the morning breeze,
And soon upon the shrouding haze
The sun directs his burning rays. [page 16] 

The white veil parts and melts away
Before the fiery eye of day;
The landscape smiles serene and fair,
And light at last is everywhere.

IV

Reverie

Love, I am sitting alone tonight,
With the yellow half-moon, golden bright,
Slow-sinking to meet the hill’s dark crest,
That breaks on the skyline far to the west:
I rest on a cushion of grey-green moss,
On the top of a rounded granite boss,
While off to the right and left, the eye
Traces the outlines of mountains high
That bear on their sides to the white snow-line,
Forests of balsam and spruce and pine.

Down at the base of my granite butte,
Fringed and shadowed with evergreens mute,
Like a diamond clear on a bed of jet,
Or a drop of dew on a rose leaf set, [page 17]
A lake lies shining, the hills between,
With never a break in its silver sheen
Except where a lonely loon swims by,
Weirdly waking the night with his cry.

What is his cry for, ringing so shrill
Up the dark valley to me on the hill?
Is it a call to a mate far away,
Listening long since the close of the day?
I cannot hear the faint answer nor see
Aught of his loved one, if loved one there be.

O if my soul could take flight like his voice,
Free from its fetters could spring and rejoice,
Leaping o’er echoing canyon and crag,
Spurning each weight that would cause it to lag,—
Straight as an arrow, and swift as the light,
Love I would speed to your presence tonight;
There I would linger and guard you, asleep,
Envying zephyrs that kissed your soft cheek.

          *     *     *     *     *     * [page 18]

The loon is silent now, the moon dips low
Into a maze of fleecy clouds that show
Their silken folds the western sky along,
While through the pines the light wind lilts a song;
The owls and bats come forth to seek their prey,
And prowling beasts that shun the light of day.

          *     *     *     *     *     *

Sinking at last from the range of sight,
Robbing my world of its borrowed light,
The moon leaves all to the dark and me—
Little want I to touch or to see:
(Can the wreck of a burnt-out world impair
The soul that is one with the Everywhere?)
Here in the dark alone I would dream;
In me and of me do all things seem—
The granite hills and the sighing wind
Are merged in one with the plastic mind.

Black are the outlines dim, of the trees,
Sullen becomes the voice of the breeze, [page 19] 
And elsewhere am I than here, it seems,—
Away, away in the land of dreams;
And the eye of the mind is watching now
A vagrant stand on the hair of your brow,
A twitch of the lip as you pass me by,
A challenging light in your deep gray eye.

V

The Home-Trail

Its good to be taking the home-trail,
With packs and consciences light—
Even supposing we did fail
To conquer that distant height.

For there’s always a height untrodden
To serve as next season’s lure, —
Where Fortune her smile will broaden
And yield us her treasure sure.

So a long good-bye to the beauties
Of virgin summits so fair;—
We must back to the valley’s duties,
And friends awaiting us there. [page 20]

When Mischa Elman Plays the Violin

When Mischa Elman plays the violin,
Dim grows the theatre, and all that is therein;
The crowd becomes unreal, and out beneath the stars,
The faint high hymns of midnight creep between the bars.

When Mischa Elman plays the violin,
The great white winter spaces drift within
The vision’s range; vast silence of the wilderness
Floods mightily the inner realms of consciousness.

When Mischa Elman plays the violin,
We doubt the potency of discord,—sin,
Seems the perverted fancy of a mind at war
With laws of harmony, it vainly thinks to mar. [page 21]

The Mountain

I tell of the mountain scarred and grey,
Whose rugged peaks confront the day
In stern array.

When lightenings flash across its heights,
And gathering clouds in angry flights,
Wheel fiercely round it;
When thunders roar with threat’ning tone,
And giant firs beneath it moan,
No fears confound it.

And when the cold grey mists depart,
We see it stand, alone, apart,
Unchanged appearing:
So may we stand when storms arise,
With faces lifted to the skies,
And hearts unfearing. [page 22]

Whip-Poor-Will

When the evening shadows lengthen
Down the hill, and ‘cross the vale,
And the trees are imaged darkly
Where the river glimmers pale,
Then I love to sit and listen
While the air is warm and still,
To a voice from out the poplars,
Crying loudly, “Whip-poor-will.”

Slowly, softly creeps the twilight
From the east unto the west,
Till it fills the peaceful valley,
Sends the forest folk to rest;—
All except a noisy fellow
In the poplars near the mill,
Whose demands are most insistent
For the punishment of “Will.”

Soon the vale is dark and lonely,
Closed in sleep each drowsy eye; [page 23] 
Through the clouds the stars are peeping
From their watch tower in the sky;
Only winds that whisper gently
In the poplars by the mill,
Listen to the night-bird calling
Till the daybreak, “Whip-poor-will.” [page 24]

The Storm King

When the curtain of night has hidden
The face of the sleeping earth,
And nature is waiting in silence
The signs of a new day’s birth,
A sound like the laughter of demons
Breaks into the dark world’s rest,
As out on the night the Storm King speeds
On his wanton, warring quest.

He comes with the speed of the whirlwind,
With a low-toned humming drone;
The lightning’s flash, and the thunder’s crash,
Make the shivering forests groan:
Away he sweeps o’er the rock-scarred vales.
From the crest of the mountain he leaps,
And startles the echoing gorges drear
Where the glittering glacier sleeps.

To the stars that are gleaming faintly
As the driven cloud-bank rifts,— [page 25]
In the boom of the foam-capped breakers,
Where the craggy shore line lifts,—
He chants the song of his conquests great
In a thousand wars of old;
For the overlord of the sea and land,
Is the restless Storm King bold.

This is the song of the Storm King’s might
As he rushes along through the angry might:—
“I smite the sea with a furious hand,
“I sweep with a savage power the land,
“All nature bows at my command:
“I am the great Storm King!” [page 26] 

Manitoulin

Famed island of the inland seas,
Whose crystal waters kiss thee,
Bright goal of every southern breeze,—
For never one would miss thee:—
Home of the Manitou;
Fair Manitoulin.

Red and gold of the autumn woods,
From vale and hillside flaunt ye:
(O forests in your changing moods,
What mystic beauties haunt ye!)
Home of the Manitou;
Fair Manitoulin! [page 27]

The Mists

The mists move down the sombrous hills
With silent, slow and stealthy tread,
To pause upon the jutting crags
Like spectres of the restless dead.

O mystic children of the night!
That come and go, I know not where;
O phantom forms indefinite!
That haunt the quiet, heavy air,

What brings you to this lonely place,
Where only wolves and owls abide?
What seek ye in these dismal caves
That gape along the mountain side? [page 28]

Moonlight in the Rockies

Shy-peeping from a cloud of silver mist,
The Queen of Night peers down the darkened vales,
Where hurried streams through devious channels twist,
And babble forth their never-ending tales.

Black, sombre pines fantastic shadows fling
From rock to rock adown the mountain side,
While waking leaves their dreamland secrets sing
To fairy rangers of the forest wide.

Pale gleams the light on high-thrown battlements
Of cloud-companioned, winter-mantled peak,
(The age-long butt of hostile elements)
Whose massive lines gigantic strength bespeak. [page 29]

A Doubting Thomas Returns to his Faith

If countless worlds revolve in space,
And all have but a single God,
What chance His busy eye will trace
The weary path my feet have trod?

Why should I think He knows the pain
My restless longing heart endures,
Or notes the baffled, fevered brain,
Whose soaring thought no light insures?

Yet if this life would end to-night,
And I fore’er could cease to be,
Whence come these visions of delight,
And strains of wondrous harmony?

Magician of the starry skies,
Whose flaming spheres recite Thy praise,
Anoint my ears, anoint my eyes,—
Let humble Wisdom guide my days. [page 30] 

I cannot but believe Thee true,
Surpassing strong, surpassing kind;
And loving all earth’s motley crew
With deep unfathomable mind:

Ready to heed and grant the prayer
That asks no earthly power or pelf,
But careless of all meaner care
Seeks but a portion of Thyself.

If I may then for largess plead
Of what may live and shine through me,—
Of Love I crave a bounteous meed.
Of Truth and Justice large degree. [page 31]

The Materialist

We never cease to question Life
With puzzled, pained, eternal “whys”;
Meanwhile spreading theories rife,
Which Nature seldom justifies.

Is the tale not written plain enough
In the Cambro-Silurian lime?
Go if you will to yonder bluff,
And read the message of Time.

What is the soul but the mind of man,
With its psychical attributes,
Slowly evolved since time began
Through fishes and reptiles and brutes?

Millions have died that I might live;
And I—I must die like the rest:—
Nature returns us all through her sieve—
The meanest as well as the best. [page 32] 

I am but as a fly that crawls
Into the sunlight one brief day:—
The sun departs, the darkness falls,
And Death, the spider, waits to slay. [page 33]

The Iconoclast

To His Orthodox Acquaintance

Religious systems will come and will go,
And man “makes progress through error” know;
But why should I build what my son must destroy?
‘Tis a lot of trouble to make for the boy!

And why get a god from an ignorant tribe
Of pastoral Semites that cheated and lied;
Who called upon Jahweh, whene’er in a rag
With a neighboring tribe, in a bygone age.

I know that you god has developed since then,
And is almost congenial to humane men;
But still it is plain that he favors soft pews
And parsons that deal in the orthodox views. [page 34]

This also, my eyes have been led to observe,
That men in high places—pretending to serve—
Are using this god to injustice maintain,
And add to their prestige; or safeguard their gain.

And you must admit (whether foolish or sage)
That his character changes from age unto age,—
And will so continue to alter, my friend,
As man still progresses, till gods have an end.

Take note of religions the wide world around,
Whether in Rome or in Africa found,—
Whether civilized kinds or the Voodoo brand,—
Be certain of finding a priest near at hand.

Always a priest must go with each god,
And ever the priest must take his toll;
So the priest fares well in this present world,
Whatever may happen his convert’s soul.[page 35]

The Prodigal Repents

Long have I strayed in grief and desolation,
Far from the land where my Redeemer reigns;
Lord I return in deep humiliation,
Seeking Thy peace and rest from all my pains.

Lo! I return; wilt Thou at last receive me?
Cleanse Thou my sins and make me white as snow;
Grant Thy rich grace may never, never leave me;
Dwell Thou within me while I walk below.

Take form me Lord this stony heart of sorrow;
Make plain the path before my halting feet;
May Faith’s clear eye discern a bright to-morrow,
When saints shall gather at Thy mercy seat. [page 36] 

The Spiritualist

At the Bedside of His Dying Friend

Soon friends of youth will gaze upon your face,
And mark the lines that Death’s cold fingers trace
Your quiet features o’er.
Dread not the gulf that nears,
Nor heed our bitter sighs and burning tears,
Who fain would hold thee here: to Life, Death opes the door.

But while we dwell the fleshly veil within,
So thick the smoke of earth-desires and sin,
The spirit eyes are blind:
Too oft the grain of faith
That conquers Fear, and slays the grisly wraith
Of Unbelief, can find no room within the mind. [page 37]

A little while, and then the shadows creep
Across the world of sorrows, and asleep
Beneath the cool green sod
The earthly form shall lie.
The body fails:—the soul can never die!
And I shall know your dear sweet spirit rests with God. [page 38]

The Sensitive

Cloud-land, shadow-land,
Land of deep remorse;
Dismal home of sinning soul
Prisoned for a course:—
Restless, haunting, devil-thoughts,
Fleeing from the light.
Hover on the threshold
Of the borderland of Night.

Sun-land, summer-land,
Land of golden dreams;
Here the bliss of paradise
O’er the spirit streams;
Beings from a brighter world
Visits here do pay:
How the soul rejoices,
In the sunny land of Day! [page 39]

The Theosophist 

On Looking in the Eyes of a Child

Limpid, lustrous, star-eyes,
Holding in your deeps
Mem’ries of a fairer world,
Your Cherub-Guardian keeps,
Search me with your lightnings,
Fill me with your dreams,
Till upon my darkened soul,
Light effulgent beams.

Blind me to the earth of life,
With its trivial joys
And its tawdry splendors:
Still its blatant noise.
Summon guides celestial,
Bid them point the way
That the longing soul must tread
To eternal day. [page 40]

The Neophyte to his Master

To thee dear friend, whom I in flesh ne’er saw,
In spiritual sympathy I draw,
And sweeping lower longings all aside,
Reach up toward thee as one deified.

I strive to trust the higher law as thou,—
Yet stumble blindly, even as I vow;—
So great the task to climb a little height,
So dim my vision in the morning light.

The world is singing to me of its joys,
In dulcet tones it offers me its toys;
I know it gauds for what they are, and still,
It throws its spell around the struggling will. [page 41]

The Monist

Some seem to think that God abides
Beyond the farthest, faintest star,
And with His ether-piercing eye
Looks down upon us from afar.

Some seen to think He lives in space—
Illimitably high and wide—
And none may say ‘twas here or there
The Deity did once reside.

To me He ever seems to dwell
Where Beauty most enthralls the soul,
And teaches in the Silences
From out the Vast Created Whole.

He’s speaking in the dewy rose,
The gleaming stars, the mountain rills,
And in the pale-grey mists that creep
At eventide across the hills. [page 42] 

He speaks in yonder snowy peak,
So changeless, solitary, high:
And in the melancholy pines
That reach toward the wintry sky.

So when I hear my brother’s God
Was seen or heard there Yesterday.
I will not haste to mark the place,
For lo! He’s here with me Today. [page 43]

Omar Khayyam

You dear old Doubter of the distant Past,
Who drove Credulity to bay, to cast
It headlong from Belief’s abyssal height;
The world pays homage to you now—at last.

To you we turn when tired of Guesses, Lies,
And babblings long of Hell and Paradise,
And realize our Heaven or Hell’s within,—
And not Elsewhere, above, below the skies. [page 44]

The Riddle of the Universe

I am the wolf’s fang, cruel and white;
I am the wild dove flitting from sight:
I am the tiger, crouched ready to spring;
I am the roses that June days bring.

I am the wind, the rain and the snow;
I am the heart of the desert’s dull glow:
I am the turbulent mountain-born rill;
I am the cloud’s lake shadow, so still.

I am the wild frothing waves of the sea;
I am the dew-drop, as clear as can be:
I am the ice at the pitiless poles;
I am the ease of luxurious souls.

I am the glorious radiance of light;
I am the blackness of uttermost night:
I am the stars, the sun and the moon;
I am the chaos of primeval gloom. [page 45]

I am all color, all music, all sound;
I am the mole that lives in the ground:
I am sweet fragrance, pervading the air;
I am the bearer of all earth’s care.

I am hard granite, the classic of land;
I am the shifting and treacherous sand:
I am the mountain peak, rising sublime:
I am the bog with its foul sticky slime.

I am a Crœsus, piling up gold:
I am a beggar, turned out in the cold:
I am a warrior, proud of my might;
I am a coward, evading the fight.

I am a savior, a king and a priest;
I am of all God’s littlest, the least:
I am white hope that promises fair;
I am the heart of the blackest despair.

I am a thinker, a doer, a seer;
I am an infant, a sigh and a tear:
I am a lover that world-watch keeps;
A creature am I of abysmal deeps. [page 46] 

I am all joy and I am all woe;
I am all wisdom, yet nothing I know:
I am the universe, centre to shell;
I am all heaven and I am all hell. [page 47]

Father Pat

We don’t go much on parsons, 
Here in the minin’ belt
‘Tween Rossland and the Similkameen;
But there was one we felt
A most uncommon likin’ for—
You take my word for that:—
The latch-string hung outside each door
For good friend Father Pat.

He wore the Church of England brand,
But didn’t bank on creeds;
His way to hearts was not with words,
But helpful, lovin’ deeds.
Though we were hard to work upon,—
Not readily enticed—
We called him the first Christian
That ever lived—since Christ.

He never peeked at keyholes,
Nor fought the cigarette; [page 48] 
He never frowned on lager beer,
Nor games of chance,—and yet,
I think that if there is a place
Where good souls get their dues,
They’ll find room there for Father Pat,
‘Fore preaches you might choose.

He never built no churches,
Nor leaned to primp or pose;
His shoes were read and dusty,
And he never wore good clothes:
His manners were just Christian,—
Becomin’ meek and mild,
And he loved each rough-neck miner
Like a mother loves her child.

If one of us was ailin’
He’d take his pack and hike
To that cabin in the mountains
Where the illness chanced to strike,
And he never thought of leavin’
Till all was right and well:—
And that’s why most us miners won’t
Meet Father Pat in hell. [page 49] 

He died: we built a monument
At Rossland, on the hill,
And many sunburned prospectors
Chipped in to pay the bill;
And when I look upon it
A great big tear-drop starts;—
But it’s nothin’ to the monument
He built within our hearts. [page 50]

Christmas Eve on the Chisana Trail

I am looking over drear fields of snow
Where in summer the tangled alders grow:
Lifeless they look as when Time began.
Except for the white’plumed ptarmigan.

I tire of watching the northern lights,
That flares through the long Alaskan nights
Like tongues of gold that would lure one on,
Till the spirit breaks and hope is gone.

I hear the wind o’er the glacier sweep,—
Hear it moan and sigh—hear it moan and weep,
(Like a strong soul seized with eternal pain)
As it flings through the pass to the long moraine.

I see the snow-flakes, sparkling white,—
Ephemeral gems of the northern night,— [page 51] 
Mimicking stars so distant and cold,
That stand on guard o’er the land of gold.

From wind-swept hill-crests the snow upwhirls,
Like smoke that from Katmai or Wrangell curls
When fire-demons deep in the earth-crust growl
And poison the air with their breath so foul.

But how, I wonder, are you tonight?
Does the future loom to you grey or bright?
Does this Christmas find you well or ill?
Is the loving heart of you warm or still?

If warm, I am surely remembered yet,
For the years can never make you forget;
If still, it is well, for then you will know
A rest from the longings that haunt me so.

           *     *     *     *     *     * [page 52]

I will rest with my wolf-rug around me, so;
(The dogs sleep quietly out in the snow!)
To the Scolai Pass it is thirty miles:
We make it tomorrow, if Fortune smiles! [page 53]

The Chilcoten’s Dream

Four grizzlies I saw, and a cub of the black bear sleeping;
Harmless, the grizzlies followed me
And departed into a neighboring illahee,
Only one making a threatening movement as it left
As though the will to injure me was there,
But could not find the strength to strike
On meeting my calm but resolute eyes.

I awoke and sought out Osatawa;
He of the limpid mind and deep-set eyes,
Learned in the tribal lore and old traditions,
Interpreter of dreams and secret symbols.
He heard my tale in silence, smiling softly.
Then patted me upon the shoulder, saying,
“My son, the tribal gods have blessed thee.”

“Thou art the receiver of a rare gift
That shall cause all thine enemies to trust thee, [page 54] 
Respecting thy simplicity and force of character,
The dignity and courage of thy bearing,
No need henceforth for thee to alter
As does the snowshoe rabbit in the springtime
His coat of white to one of dead-grass color.

No more dost need protective coloration,
Which many animals adopt for food or safety,
And many fearful braves, who wait, inquiring,
What views the tribe doth take, before they utter
Their own opinion on a weighty matter.
Superior to disguises hast thou risen:
My son the tribal gods have blessed thee.” [page 55]

Sporty Gunn

The prison dark has claimed you, Sporty Gunn,
And its bare walls stand between you and the sun;
O’er your soul the shadow’s stealing,
Blotting conscience, hope and feeling—
And your senses half are reeling, Sporty Gunn.

Through the steel bars of your cage, Sporty Gunn,
You may weep and curse and rage, Sporty Gunn;
But the law of Mammon heeds not,
And the glozing pulpit pleads not,
For the waif the System needs not, Sporty Gunn.

On the hills the grouse are hooting, Sporty Gunn,
And the sun the snow is looting, Sporty Gunn,
On the lakes the light is falling, [page 56] 
All the little creeks are brawling;
Don’t you hear them calling—calling, Sporty Gunn?

Robbing isn’t out of fashion, Sporty Gunn,
Since your world lost all compassion, Sporty Gunn;
But ‘tis ruled and regulated;
Stealing from the thieves is hated;
Though their maws are never sated, Sporty Gunn.

Had you swiped some railroad line, Sporty Gunn,
Sanctified the deed with time, Sporty Gunn;
Told the people it was done
For their good—their good alone;
You’d have had a better home, Sporty Gunn.

O’er the hills the night is creeping, Sporty Gunn,
Wild things of the woods are sleeping, Sporty Gunn; [page 57] 
Cease your anger and your grief;
Time will bring its dull relief
Even to the captured thief, Sporty Gunn. [page 58] 

The Old Scout’s Prejudice

I’ve been where the beaver builds his dam,
On far divides where the jack pine reigns,
And spun out rations with ground hog ham,
When doing work on mineral claims.

The Arctic hare has varied my fare,
And the fool hens I’ve snared when they’re fat
And boiled with rice for a mulligan rare,—
But I draw a strict line on the cat.

Some say that a cougar steak’s not too bad,
And acknowledge a liking for lynx,
While some claim bob cat is good, by dad,—
Though none deny that the vermin stinks!

I own I can gorge on porcupine
When parboiled free of excessive fat,
On bear, or beaver trails I can dine;
But I’m hanged if I’ll ever eat cat! [page 59]

Ode to a Rattlesnake

Nothing airy, light or fairy,
In your movements do I see;
You’re as sluggish and as pluggish
As any snake could be.

I’d have nothing much against you
If you wouldn’t hang about
So handy to the chicken-coop:—
That’s why I snuff you out.

But tell me, while I poise this rock,
Which on your head I’ll heave,—
Are you the snake that tempted,
Our poor old Mother Eve? [page 60] 

The Chainman’s Lament

We’ve tramped the brush since early morn,
Through gulches and over the rocks,
Cursing the devil’s club,—smarting, torn,
By its poisonous spine-covered stalks.

It’s mean when the brush is wet with rain,
And black flies busy from dawn till dark,
To follow the axemen and holler “Chain!”
When the end of it reaches the mark.

We’d sooner tramp through the deep wet snow—
Bridging where soft with a cedar limb—
Than have the black fly for our foe,
‘Cause we look like a cinch to him.

He surely raises particular hell:—
Though he doesn’t possess a fist,
He makes our hands and faces swell
Like a champion pugilist. [page 61] 

Now and then we will strike it nice;
Weather fine and black flies few;
The salt chuck shining like polished ice,
Where we get a chance for a view.

The chain slips by like a silver snake,
Through the brush and over the moss;
And when he reckons the miles we make,
It certainly pleases the boss.

But when we have to move the camp,
Its pack and pack till our backs are sore,
On a half made trail, through muskegs damp,
Over fallen trees by the score.

We pack the cook’s black kettles along,
And the hardtack, bacon and beans;
He raises the devil if things go wrong,—
Which frequently happens, it seems.

Then we carry our blankets and junk,
Miles and miles, till our legs feel frail,—
We have no need of a brass bound trunk,
When we pack our homes on the trail! [page 62] 

“What are we doing it for?” you say,
“Climbing the mountains week after week,
Fighting the black flies day after day:
What on earth do you fellows seek?”

We are doing it just for the pay—
Food for our bodies and clothes, you see,
Sweating, swearing and hiking all day,
To and fro from the hills to the sea.

Why we are sent is another thing,
That it doesn’t take long to explain.
(I wish the heads of the timber ring
Had to stand this damnable rain!)

This isle grows miles of timber fine—
Where the mantling soil will induce,—
Its richer far than many a mine,
Though usually wet as the deuce!

Majestic spruce trees tower aloft—
Dim twilight clinging their branches in—
And the yellow cedars, fragrant, soft,
Are mixed with the reds—their next of kin. [page 63] 

Someone told of it down in New York,
Where the sons of spoil still sing and prey:
They gobbled it up as a hungry stork
Would a pollywog, swimming its way.

Some of it fell to the lumber trust,
For its gain in the bye and bye,
And some to the trust that didn’t bust
By embalming beef that was “high,”

And we were sent to mark the lines,
(That each of the trusts might know its own)
And place at the corners, posts and signs,
So their sacred rights might be known. [page 64] 

The Wisdom of Moccasin Pete

I’m off for the hills, for I’m sick of the town
Where nobody cares for the man that is down.

The hills are my refuge from Satan and sin;
From crooks and from snobs, and a poison called gin.

The birds and the trees are friends that can talk;—
The city is naught but a jeer and a mock.

Go pile up your concrete, your stone and brick walls,
And dress up your women like toy German dolls,—

It’s me for the mountains and what I can find,
And to hell with this city and all of its kind. [page 65] 

Killed by Ore Slide

(Item from daily press)

Manhattan, Nev.—Forty tons of rock buried Alexander Hubley here today and cheated him of a fortune. The slide that crushed him laid bare a body of rich ore. For two years Hubley had been working alone, undiscouraged and uninterrupted, on a lease in which he had faith.

Toiling alone in the dark and the muck,
His faith undimmed in his ultimate luck,
Day in and day out, to his work he went,
Quitting at night with his strength all spent;
Back in the morning and at it again,
Shutting himself from the sun and the rain,
See how he labored and hoped to the last:—
Now, all his hopes and his labors are past.

So we may find in the world, if we will,
Venturesome spirits that seek a far hill, [page 66] 
Delve there undaunted for rich veins of ore,
While heedless the world never thinks of them more.
They fire their last rounds in the adamant rock,
Are trapped, blotted out by the weight and the shock,
And the world just pauses to add to its store
The treasure, in dying, from Nature they tore. [page 67]

The “High-Falutin’ Prospector” Finds Radium

A wonderful strike, to us he claimed,
He made in the distant “Saw-Tooth Range—
Near the “Seven Devil’s”—justly famed;
But his story sounded a trifle strange.

With mind in a circumstantial mood—
With neck in a confidential bend—
He told of finding a five-foot lode
Of radium ore—a black pitchblende.

The rocks—geologically right—
Ranged from the old Archæn up
To a Miocene lava, fresh and bright,
In a crater shaped like a cup.

Volcanic action had shown its might
On the grey Carboniferous limes,
In which he discovered a trilobite
Unknown during Permian times. [page 68] 

We still had a chance to “get in right”;
An “extension” was still to be had:
He’d start on the trail that very night:—
But we feared we might “get in bad”!

We offered instead to furnish a train
Of cayuses to pack out some ore;—
With radium selling at thousands a grain,
One trip would be plenty, we swore.

Then he gazed at us and his eyes grew sad,
And he said in that gentle way he had:
“It’s too far back and it’s too high up,
An aeroplane would not do;
It would sure get lost in the thick grey fogs,
No matter how high it flew.
A fellow would have to train some birds,
Like ravens or hawks or seagulls;—
Or better than all perhaps would be
A pack-train of bald-headed eagles.” [page 69]

A Boy at Sixty-Three

He tramps through the woods and the hills with me,
My boyish friend who is sixty-three;
And its not for health or wealth you see,
But the fun of finding things.

He is gay in the morn and fresh at night,
His face is smiling, his humor bright,
As he spins his tales by the camp-fire’s light
Of the fun of finding things.

I hope when I get to be sixty-three,
My heart will be light, my step be free,
As I tramp with the boys—or the boys with me—
For the fun of finding things. [page 70]

The Gold-Seeker

In Memory of one who perished in the Klondyke rush

The sun breaks o’er the mountain top,—
The morning mists are riven:
All day against the swollen stream,
His boat is stoutly driven.
The cool night comes at length to rest,
The heart and hands so weary;
While pine-land fancies drift about,
From corners dark and eerie.

The dark pines sing in the soft night wind
Of the yellow gold he hopes to find,
Of a brown-eyed sweetheart left behind,
And a mother fondly waiting.

He scales the rugged unknown hills
By paths the wild sheep follow,
Or pausing makes his humble meal
In some secluded hollow: [page 71] 

But ever with the whisp’ring night
Come dreams of far off places,
And once again he seems to see
Two dear familiar faces.

But northern wilds are strange and rough,
Where Nature’s gold lies hidden,
And many lives she claims from those
Who seek her stores unbidden.
Alas! that death should mark this one,
While sparing comrades meaner:—
The “trump of God” alone can wake
The silent, lonely dreamer!

The dark pines sing in the soft night wind
Of the yellow gold he hoped to find.
Of a sad-eyed sweetheart left behind,
And a mother’s heart that’s breaking. [page 72]

The Tale of the Moveable Mine

Said Jiggeroo Jones to Hoodlum Smith,
“Ever hear of the moveable mine?”
And Hoodlum, wise as a treeful of owls,
Answered, “Way back in ninety-nine.”

But I was a strange, and ready for yarns,
So asked him to tell us the tale;
And Jigeroo called for the three-star brand;—
And the “bartend” rang up a sale.

After I’d paid for the warming up
Of Jiggeroo’s organs of speech,
He settled down to the job in hand
Like a parson hired to preach.

“I ain’t no yaller-legged expert,” he said,
“But I savy some things about ore.
I’ve mined in the Slocan, and Rossland too,
And been in camps by the score: [page 73] 

Up in the Yukon; at Atlin Lake;
And down in Similkameen;—
There aint many places ‘tween Rockies and sea,
That Jiggeroo Jones hasn’t seen.

I took in the boom at Poplar Creek;
Was up on the Bridge River too,
And found good rock on Cadwallader Creek,
But the camp went dead—so I flew.

I made for the coast when the move was on,
And mosied around for awhile
At Howe Sound, Quatsino, Mount Sicker,
And over on Texada Isle.

From there I went to Portland Canal
When the Bitter Creek rush was on,
And prospected up near the glaciers,
Till my money and grub was gone.

“A prospector’s paradise,” someone has called
This province of forests and rocks;
But I often thought ‘twas a prospector’s hell,
When I’d had some extra hard knocks. [page 74] 

I finally tired of the hills and the grub,
So I looked for a pleasanter land,
Where God hadn’t piled the rocks all on end,
And loaded the valleys with sand.

Just about then I met Mexican Tom,
And Mexican said: “Hark ye!”
I’ve the finest ranch that lays out of doors,
On the shores of the Hecate sea.

The clams over there are the biggest on earth,
And as sweet as a nectarine,
While the geese and ducks just flock around—
The fattest that ever you seen.

The salmon run up the streams so thick
They crowd out onto the land,
And the Haida braves have grown so tame
They feed right out of your hand.”

Well I guess that sounded real good to me,
So I packed up, you can bet,
And loaded my forty years’ gatherin’s,
Aboard of the Henriette. [page 75] 

I hadn’t much baggage to put aboard,’
In fact ‘twas all in one sack
Except a gun, a pick and an axe,
That wouldn’t fit into the pack.

We started that night, and the next day out
We poked into Dixon’s strait,
Where we rammed right into a wicked storm
That threatened to seal our fate.

The way those seas piled over the boat,
Made her stagger and lurch and reel,
Till I wished I was back on the claims again,
Poundin’ the head of a steel.

The water just riz in a big green bank,
Like a mountain of malykite,
And you never seen such a sickly man
As me—for a day and a night.

I wished that the damned old tub would sink
And the fishes feed on the crew:
I cursed and swore—and I nearly prayed,
For I figured my hours were few. [page 76] 

But all of a sudden the wind slacked up,
And swung from southeast to west,
And the captain wore a more cheerful look
That seemed to encourage the rest.

I perked up some and began to take
A little nourishment then,
But felt no interest in things around,—
‘Specially my fellowmen.

I mosied out feeling grouchy and blue,
And wandered up on the deck,
And I saw Rose Spit a-loomin’ up
Out of the west like a speck.

As I was gazin’ and wishin’ the boat
Could double its speed at least,
And get us across the churned-up sea,—
White as a bowlful of yeast—

There hove in sight, from the cabin door
(Lookin’ as pale as a ghost)
A genuine “Aw theah” Englishman,—
The kind I detest the most. [page 77] 

I took no notice and thought he’d pass,
As the older stagers do.
(You have to make up to an old dog,
But a pup makes friends with you!)

I looked as mean as a porcupine,—
You could see my quills all stand,
When that new-imported Britisher
Decided to shake my hand.

Said he had seen me before somewheres,—
Which was all in his “bloomin’ eye”:
Then reachin’ into his pocket, he
Discovered a flask of rye.

Well fellows, its strange aboard a ship
What funny friends you will find.
(Now Hoodlum, cut your grinnin’ out;
I know what’s in your mind!)

We finished that flask in no great time,
And before an hour was o’er,
That Cockney told me all that he knew—
And maybe a good deal more. [page 78] 

His folks had hit the toboggan slide
Financially, it appeared,
Their paystreak pinchin’ and peterin’ out,
Till the brink of ruin neared.

They scraped a hundred pounds from the wreck,
Any sent “Arry” out to B. C.
With orders to make three thousand pounds,
In just two years, do you see.

And “Arry” wanted my best advice
On how the trick could be turned:
I told him he had me up a tree;—
‘Twas a trick I hadn’t learned.

He seemed to think it was not so hard
In a land of gold like this,
So I didn’t feel like telling him
How many I’d known to miss,

After a constant struggle for years,—
Hopes deferred and hearts grown sick,
One and another had quit the game,—
Bill and Tom and Jim and Dick. [page 79] 

They weren’t no pikers either, you bet,
In the risky minin’ game;
But they all had fell by the wayside,
And I felt he’d do the same.

We went below to his room at last,
Where I fairly feared for my life,
When I found that youngster was wearin’
Two guns and a bowie knife.

But when he explained he had purchased
His weapons on leavin’ town
To pertect himself from the Indians,
I laughed till I near fell down.

He stood my chaff without getting’ sore—
And smiled when I gave him a rub;
So when he fished out another flask,
I cottoned right to that cub.

He prattled about his hopes and plans,
As the booze went to his head;
Till he got so spiflicated
He couldn’t sit on the bed. [page 80] 

I left him there to dream of the gold:—
In dreams you will often find
Veins that are rich in the yellow stuff,—
Richer than ever was mined.

I toddled off to my virtuous couch
With more of a roll than the sea
Quite warranted; and a limpiness
Where my spinal column should be.

Along about six in the mornin’
I felt the old boat go thump
Against somethin’ that stopped her sudden,
And set the fixin’s ajump.

I hurriedly covered my lower limbs,
And made for the deck on the run
To see what the Henriette had struck,
And if any damage was done.

I found the storm had shifted the buoy
That warned boats off of the Spit,
And the tub had rammed her nose in the sand,
And there she would have sit [page 81] 

Till the tide came in and floated her off,
Which wouldn’t be until noon:
The captain swore in a broken Dutch,—
Lookin’ scared as a hunted coon.

Lucky for us the wind had dropped,
And the sea was getting’ calm:
The land was only a mile away,
So I soon devised a plan

To make my getaway from the ship,—
And with some aid from the crew
The captain agreed to put me ashore:—
But “Arry” was bound to go too.

I hadn’t the heart to leave the kid,
So we piled him in the boat,
Though after I’d got him on my hands,
I cursed myself for a goat.

They had some trouble in landin’ us,
Because of the long flat beach
That kept the dory from gettin’ close;
So we waded for it, each [page 82]

With a good stiff load of junk on his back,—
And as “Arry” had more than I,
I managed to handle part of his truck,
And get it ashore for him dry.

Say friends, talk about summer resorts,
And high-class waterin’ places;
Why that eastern coast of Graham Isle
Is like a hand with four aces.

Long sandy beaches!—well I should say!
Stretchin’ thirty miles or more;
A hundred yards wide when the tide’s at ebb!
Say boys, there’s class to that shore!

You could race twenty autymobiles abreast
And not crowd into the sea;
And the waters seem to fondle the beach—
Caressin’ as they can be.

The sand is just as smooth and hard,
(Where the little wavelet curls)
As the heart of a captain of industry,
That’s makin’ his pile sweatin’ girls. [page 83] 

The island looked flat as a bannock
That hadn’t got enough heat,—
Flat as a squirr’l I once found ‘neath a tree,
That’d pestered a cougar’s sleep.

After some years of mountain scenes
Of an extry savage brand,
The island looked mighty good to me,
As you can well understand.

It offered a softly pleasin’ view,
Such as an old lady’s face
That has all her lifetime been well loved:—
It shines with an inward grace

So kindly and all-inclusive like,
Your thirst is spoiled by a whim,
And you walk right past the bar for a week,
Hummin’ an old-fashioned hymn.

“Arry” and I adjustin’ our packs,
Started our forty-mile tramp,
Headin’ south for the River Tel-el,
Where Mexican had his camp. [page 84] 

The goin’ was certainly scrumptious
Over that tightly packed sand;
But I loafed along pretty easy,
At a pace that “Arry” could stand.

As the tide came in it drove us up
Near to the high-water mark,
And as the hikin’ was poorer there,
We camped long ‘fore it was dark.

I started to break the youngster in—
Teachin’ him how to make camp.
(And here I am bound to acknowledge,
I found him a teachable scamp.)

I showed him how to mix water with flour,
And turn out a bannock brown;
And how to fashion a bed of boughs,
That was nearly as soft as down.

Except for “no see ‘ems” on graveyard shift,
We wasn’t disturbed in the night,
And when we broke camp in the mornin’
The sun was a-shinin’ bright. [page 85]

We rolled up all our household “defects”
And hoisted ‘em on our backs,
And settin’ our faces towards the south,
We commenced to makin’ tracks.

Thinkin’ of Longfeller’s “Psalm of Life,”
(Which is certainly high-grade rhyme)
And comparin’ the tracks I was makin’
To “prints” in the sands of time,”

I suddenly noticed under my feet—
Compellin’ my pace to slack—
That the sand below and around me
Was most infernally black.

“Arry” was trailin’ along behind,
A-sweatin’ to beat the band;
So stoopin’ to fix the lace of my boot,
I scooped a handful of sand.

The patch covered all of an acre,
And was four or five inches deep,
And a little stream came in quite close,
That would help one mine it cheap. [page 86]

We managed to get to Cape Ball that night—
Though “Arry” was gettin’ weak,—
And crossin’ the Cape Ball River, we
Encamped on a little creek.

After we’d gotten outside of some grub,
I wandered off up the stream,
Leavin’ poor “Arry,” weary and sore,
To rest by the camp-fire’s gleam.

Alone, at a little pool on the creek,
I brought out a small horn spoon.
And perceeded to wash that pinch of dirt
By the light of the silvery moon.

I didn’t need sunlight to see the gold
That hung behind the black sand:
It was surely the richest sample,
That Jiggeroo ever had panned!

Well boys, I could hardly sleep that night,
But when I did get a nap,
I dreamt I had dust enough to back
Old Midas clean off the map. [page 87]

I dreamt that I lugged out fifty pounds
Of gold to a town down the coast,
And hunted up old acquaintances,—
A hungry and thirsty host.

Like prime good fellows, fond of our glass,
We painted that town down south;
And the dream was so real that I woke up
With a dark brown taste in my mouth.

I slipped out of bed ‘bout four o’clock,
While “Arry,” in blankets curled,
Was busy “sleepin’ the sleep of the just;”
In other words, “dead to the world.”

I left a note sayin; “back tonight;
Don’t worry, but rest your bones:—
Just bake up an extry bannock or two,
And oblige yours truly, Jones.”

I took the axe and compass along,
And a hard tack for my lunch—
Travellin’ light, and travellin’ fast—
As one should follow a hunch. [page 88] 

Along about ten I reached the spot,
And findin’ some suitable stakes,
I squared and smoothed ‘em and wrote thereon,—
Bein’ careful to make no mistakes.

I never pose as an all-truist,
When it comes to stakin’ claims,
And prospectors stickin’ in golden rule posts,
Deserve to be called hard names:—

So plantin’ my posts on the blackest sand,
That I knew was sure to carry
A good per cent of the yellow stuff,
I looked up ground for “Arry.”

I noticed near the mouth of the creek
A nice little patch of dirt;
And thought it wise to corral the stream,
Because we’d need it for cert:—

So signin’ myself as his agent,
I wrote his name on a post,
Locatin’ the beach where the streamlet
Meandered out to the coast. [page 89]

I hiked it back that afternoon,
My feet just steppin’ on air,
And my head-piece so elevated.
‘Twas bumpin’ the clouds for fair.

I kept my secret when I reached camp,—
Inventin’ a few white lies—
Feelin’ that sand was too easy got at,
To chance puttin’ people wise:

For such riches lyin’ so close at hand,
If known to folks at Tel-el
Would bother ‘em more than flesh could bear,
And some would say, “O hell!”

We’re goin’ after that golden dust:
And we’ll take it too, because,
There aint nobody around these parts
To enforce your minin’ laws.

We guess old Nature had somethin’ to do
With stackin’ that gold up there.
And why should we let two checkhakoes
Gobble more than their share?” [page 90]

‘Tis easy to find what others will think,
If you will but follow the plan
Of takin’ a look in your own mind—
Which is that of the average man.

There’s only one way a secret to keep,
That’s safe as a granite wall:
Lock it right up in the back of your head
And keep it there tight—that’s all.

We made to the River Tel-el that day;
But bein’ afraid to wait,
I borried a boat from Mexican Tom
And started for Skidegate.

When I got the claims recorded there,
I was easier in my mind,
And opened my features to “Arry”
About my wonderful find.

Talk about bein’ tickled to death!
Say, that don’t describe his state;
He couldn’t talk about anythin’ else
From early morn until late. [page 91]

When I spoke of getting’ grub and tools,
He dug right into his jeans
And loaded the boat with a good supply
Of bacon and flour and beans.

We started north again for Tel-el,—
The sea lookin’ happy and calm
As a shellfish feels when the tide is high,
That is known to fame as the clam.

Along about noon a breeze crept up,
Comin’ from out the southeast,
And we hoisted sail and raced ahead,
Not feelin’ nervous the least.

Until I noticed some black clouds scud
Across the sky in our rear,
And thought I would hug the shore and see
If a landin’ place was near.

‘Tis a dangerous coast for smallish craft,
For the storms come up so quick,
And harbors are few and far between,—
So a sailor needs to be slick [page 92]

To keep from getting’ swamped and beached,
And losin’ his grub and boat—
(Not to mention the usin’ of language
Which wouldn’t be fit to quote.)

South and east from the Sandspit I looked,
Where the sea was getting’ black,
(And the angry little white-caps showed)
And wished that I was back

In the shelter of Skidegate Harbor,
Where no southeaster could harm—
Where the timber cruisers foregathered,
And the stoppin’ house beds were warm.

We were beyond Lawn Hill a few miles,
When I spotted a sheltered cove,
And pointed it out to “Arry” who
Let go a relieved, “Bah Jove!”

We didn’t have ten minutes to spare,
And it seemed so far, with our load,
It reminded me of a certain point,
That’s called, “Point-Pull-and-Be-Blowed.” [page 93]

Fact is ‘twas somethin’ less than a mile
We had to row to the shore,
But with a southeaster chasin’ us
It looked like two miles, or more.

Needless to say we rowed our best,—
(Cuttin’ the speed limit fine)
But even with all our speedin’ up
We shipped some buckets of brine.

We landed safely, out of the wind,
And pullin’ our boat up high,
We carried all our chattels and goods
To where we could keep ‘em dry

Back from the beach in the trees, we found
An elegant place to camp—
Out of the ragin’ and roarin’ wind.
And out of the salt spray, damp.

We had to stay in that bay three days,
(Which we christened Southeast Harbor)
While the stormy sea, the shore-line lashed,—
Makin’ more suds than a barber. [page 94]

A clear little creek ran into the bay—
Bright-bottomed with mica sand—
And I found some boards washed up on the beach
To which I could turn my hand,

So getting’ out the hammer and saw,
And a dozen or so of nails,
I rigged a sluice-box to show the boy
How to save the golden scales

Of the precious stuff that Nature hides
In a most provokin’ way—
Seldom puttin’ enough in one spot
To make the work for it pay.

At first “Arry” thought the mica was gold.
It looked so yaller and bright:—
(“Fool’s gold” is what some people call it,
And I guess the name is right.)

The wind died down very suddenly,
And the sun shone bright for a time:—
I never saw weather could change so quick
As in that feminine clime. [page 95]

As soon as the sea looked safe again,
We loaded our “dreadnought” full,
And headin’ her out of the harbor,
Commenced on our northward pull.

The rowin’ at first blistered “Arry’s” hands—
Then callouses were produced
By the arm-power way of propellin’ boats,
To which he was interduced.

He seemed to thrive in the open air,—
Getting’ a nice coat of tan,
And in spite of his English accent
Showed signs of becomin’ a man.

We camped that night on the great long spit
Between Tel-el and the sea,
On a grassy patch twixt stunted spruce,
That were green as spruce could be.

We laid in our blankets and watched the sky,
Lit up with the northern lights,
That reach for stars with their fiery hands
From the gloom of the polar nights. [page 96] 

‘Twas getting’ late on the second day
When we reached our placer ground,
And we made our camp up the little creek,
At a suitable spot we found.

We threw up a tent and stored our grub,
And cut some boughs for our beds,
And folded our coats as pillows,
For to rest our weary heads.

Early next mornin’ we made for the beach
To lay out plans for our work,
And take another look at the sand
Where the precious gold did lurk.

We reached the spot, and to my surprise,
When we come to look around,
I found the black sand gone from my claim;
And bunched onto “Arry’s” ground!

I failed to understand it at first,
And didn’t know who to blame,
Till it hit me that damned southeaster
Had shifted the gold from my claim, [page 97] 

And piled it up near the mouth of the creek,
Just leavin’ a thin light strip
For Jiggeroo Jones the locator, who
Had kept from a partnership

Because he had staked the richest dirt,
And didn’t want to divide
His pile with a green-horn Englishman,
That drifted in with the tide.

There still was time to alter the posts,—
But conscience, whisperin’ low,
Said, “anyone playin’ the hog like you,
Should certainly let things go.

You tried to euchre the kid for fair,
But you didn’t make it stick,
And Jiggeroo you have been punished,
For getting’ too damnable slick.

When it comes to playin’ funny tricks,
You’ve got to take a back seat,
And doff your hat to the southeast gales,
Which surely have got you beat.” [page 98] 

I helped get things into proper shape
So the kid could go along;
And built him a sluice to catch the gold,
Constructin’ it good and strong.

I told him what had happened my claim,
Through the trick the storm had played,
And of how my fortune had vanished
That his fortune might be made.

He didn’t appear the least bit pleased
When I spoke of pullin’ out,
But swore I must stay and share with him,
For he couldn’t manage without.

A man of my size and calibre
To help him handle the claim,
And he spoke so straight and earnest,
That I nearly blushed with shame.

I was feelin’ too cheap to refuse him,
So I promised that I would stay,
And we worked on the claim together
Till night of the seventh day. [page 99]

I thought it time to return the boat,
If I didn’t want Tel-el’s chief
Chasin’ me up with a shootin’ iron
And bawlin’ me out for a thief.

I told the boy what I had in mind,
And he thought my notion good,
But wanted me to be certain to
Return as soon as I could.

Catchin’ a favorin’ breeze next day
I headed off down the coast
Pridin’ myself on my sailin’ skill,—
Of which though I never boast!

I said good-bye to the kid that morn,
Assurin’ him I’d return
Along the shore in a day or two,
And not to feel any concern,

If I seemed overdue a day or so,
But to roll the sleeves of his shirt,
And eyein’ that fifteen thousand mark,
To pitch right into that dirt. [page 100] 

With my think-tank workin’ overtime,
I puzzled things out that day,
Whether I’d better get out of the camp,
Or whether I ought to stay.

I sailed along about twenty miles—
My thoughts in a hazy state;
But before I reached the River Tel-el,
I saw that the hand of fate

Had led me to find that placer mine
(Who never could fortune coax)
For people needin’ it worse than me,—
Most probably “Arry’s” folks.

When I left the boat with Mexican Tom,
Instead of takin’ the beach
Back to the claims as I said I would,
I hit for the sandy reach

That stretches along to Miller Creek,
And from there a trail did take,
That landed me once again, O.K.
At the Harbor of Skidegate. [page 101] 

There I waited three or four days,
With a party of timber men,
Till a boat for Rupert picked us up,
And I never went back again.

But I heard that “Arry” made his stake,
And two years later went home:
And I—well I’m broke as usual,
And driftin’ around alone.

Such are a prospector’s troubles, boys,
On the long hard trail of life;
And there’s just one thing I’m thankful for—
I’ve neither kiddie nor wife

To want because of my wanderin’s,
Or suffer because of my luck,
And the Lord will give me credit for that,
When the final balance is struck.

There’s an old man’s home in Kamloomps town
Where I guess I’ll soon be due;
But I’m gettin’ too old to change my ways,
So I’m goin’ to see it through: [page 102] 

And, Hoodlum, you needn’t turn your face
To snicker or to deride;—
I’m blooded and game to the finish,
But the Lord aint on my side!” [page 103]

John Ruskin

Sad-eyed, he led the sick world to the truth,
And touched its fetid sores with tender hand,
Speaking mild words of warning and reproof,
Which yet, in part, it fails to understand.

But mark the change that quickly o’er him came
When wrong was done through stupid green and blind:—
How raced the gentle brood from heart to brain!
How flashed the hot words from the flaming mind!

Fresh homage to his kingly life will come,
From all who love the beautiful and right:
His empire stretches wide, and like the sun,
Encroaches ever on the realms of night! [page 104] 

We place no crown of gold upon his brow,
(Its tawdry glitter never him beguiled)
But we will crown him in our hearts I trow,
With everlasting wreaths of olives wild. [page 105]

The New Knight Errant

The brutal facts with eyes of fire
Glare in upon him, stern and fierce,
And stir his blood with hot desire
The Profit Dragon’s heart to pierce.

He battles as did knight of old
For helpless mother, child and maid;
His arm is stout, his heart is bold,
And heaven smiles on his brave crusade.

No lust of pleasure, gold or fame,
May dull the keenness of his sight;
Cool hand he needs, and cooler brain,
To speed his glit’ring lance aright. [page 106]

The Gogahee

Up in the north where the wind-whipped sea
Beats on his rocky island home,
Beneath the limbs of a giant tree.
I talked to a Haida alone.
In a village deserted for many years,
Guarded by totems odd and old,
Where the tribal eagle sits and peers
From a dead-house dank with mold.

The communal lodge was rotting fast,
Where children romped and grew:
Its dead-pole reared in front like a mast
Had a weather-beaten hue.
The sandy shore in the sheltered bay
Where once the war-canoes were kept,
Saw dusky braves go out to the fray,
That had long in the dead-house slept.

There amid ruins of long ago,
With eyes turned out to the sea [page 107]
My Haida brother in accents low
Weird tales related to me
Of monsters fearful the ocean keeps—
(Dreadful things they were to see)
And one that came from rocky deeps,
Was the terrible Gogahee.

This hideous hybrid ‘twixt man and fish,
With its horrible teeth and eyes,
Liked Haida Indians for a dish,
And caught them at times by surprise.
One of the tribesmen would paddle out
At early dawn with salmon line
Made from the smooth brown kelp—yet stout—
That grows in the ocean brine.

One of the tribesmen would paddle away,—
His “cedar” cutting the sea—
And though they waited many a day
And wondered where he could be,
He came not back in human form
To his home near the sheltered bay. [page 108]
(His voice is sometimes heard in the storm,
So his mourning womenfolk say!)

The Gogahee caught him, all agree,—
His tribe shall see him nevermore;
His women bewail him dolefully,
While ravens croak on the shore.
This is the type of many dire tales
Of the terrible Gogahee,
The Haida tells—the while he quails
At the monsters deep in the sea.

O Haida brother, on islet home,
In the grip of the wind-swept sea,
Sad are the tales you tell me alone,
Of the blood-thirsty Gogahee;
But I could tell you of sadder things
In the populous white man’s land,—
Of monsters having no fins or wings:
But you never could understand!

Monsters in human form are they,
(Fashioned as you and I)
Robbing their tribesmen day by day, [page 109]
Causing thousands to starve and die;
Taking children from mothers’ arms,
And grinding them up for gain,
Filling the world with war’s alarms,
And misery, poverty, pain.

No such monsters come from the sea,
As the ones that the white man breeds—
Worse by far than the Gogahee
That on venturesome Haida feeds,—
Lusting for power and pelf and ease,
They are ruling the white man’s land:
I could tell my Haida friend of these—
But he never could understand. [page 110] 

The Inarticulate Age Awaits Its Voice

We have sighed and have cried for the master singers departed;
We have said, “all are dead—the free and the noble hearted,”
And the earth feels the dearth of the sweet piercing voices of freedom,
And the heart that aspires, filled with love’s social fires,
Finds singers in face of its need dumb.

Lo! the mill gluts its fill, of the infants and youths of the workers,
And the mine, black, malign, blots us out while we toil for the shirkers:
Who may tell of the hell in our myriad central abysses!
Where the profit wolves fight like creatures of night,—
Cold and false as a prostitute’s kisses! [page 111] 

Should we pause lest the laws that our masters have made for our guiding,
Should be torn, while they mourn that fair Justice is brought from her hiding?
Shall the pains of our chains like us humbly and dumbly together?
Shall none rise to tell how our foes to repel,
And the yoke of our bondage dissever? [page 112]

The Builders

Beautiful buildings of brick and stone,
Pleasant mansions in spacious grounds;
Work of the Builders, whose skill alone,
Fashions our cities and myriad towns.

Strong steel vessels that come and go,
Bringing food from the distant lands,
Constant as tides that ebb and flow;
Product of useful and busy hands.

Bands of steel from the sea to the plain,
Curving the base of the mountain range,
Tell where the Builders with might and main,
Labored to open a country strange.

Where do they live, these builders of thine
That make the earth glad with their feats?
Housed are they in mansions fine?
Do they ride on the soft cushioned seats? [page 113] 

Nay, poor the homes and poor the fare
Of these Builders in many lands;
Coarse and scanty the clothes they wear;
Roughened and calloused their hands.

Why do they build with infinite toil
These railroads and houses and ships,
For creatures who hardly stoop to soil
Their velvety finger tips? [page 114]

The Industrialist

A hint of the future type is he,
With his strong and competent hands,
Building the road or felling the tree.
On the edge of the newer lands.

Drilling the rock in the tunnel dark,
In the ditch with the muck stick too:
There you will find him doing tasks,
Where the useful work is to do.

Holding faith in the working class,
And striving its crafts to unite,
Knowing the power his masters fear
Is the age-old power of Might.

Kindly to comrades when in need,
Loyal and firm in a pinch;
Yielding much for the common good,
But not to the masters an inch. [page 115] 

Hail to his rebel spirit fine!
Burns would love him, Shelley too;
And all the world shall honor him
When the Old gives way to the New. [page 116]

The Passing World

The marshalled hosts of Ancient Wrong
Move by in showy cavalcade,
Aping light-heartedness in song
That from the lips alone is made;
For on their leader’s face they see
The fear of threat’ning Destiny.

Blind Mammon builds a throne of gold,
And vows that he alone shall rule,
While glib-tongued worshippers uphold
The tenets of his sordid school:
But even as they mince and lie,
The words faint on their lips and die.

Old creeds are dying like the leaves
That shrivel in the autumn wind;
Old Semblance like old Form, deceives
No longer the unfettered mind.
What crews can save the ships of state
Engulfed in seas of war and hate? [page 117]

Trouble and Talk of Trouble

Trouble and talk of trouble,
War and rumours of war,—
While fear is brooding over the hearts
Of emperor, king and czar:
Louder and even louder,
We hear the workers’ cry,
That sinks to a sullen murmur
As the troops go riding by.

Trouble and talk of trouble;
Systems shall change, shall melt,
In the furnace wrath of the Angry Ones
Who centuries long, have knelt:
Hear ye the cries of terror
Break from the lips of the proud;—
Lo many that ruled with an iron hand
Shall want for a common shroud! [page 118]

The Army of Freedom

You must bend your dull ear lower,
To catch the distant sound
Of an army marching onward through the night:
Faster now it moves, then slower,
As it crosses broken ground,
But it marches ever onward to the light.

Soon its consecrated banners
Will glisten in the sun
And the hosts of darkness flee before its face;
And old earth shall change her manners
When that new day is begun
For righteousness shall shine on all the race. [page 119]

Brothers Rise

Brothers rise! the day is breaking!
Freedom calls: the god of dawn,
Clothed in light the world is waking,
And at last the night is gone!

Cast all thoughts of failure from you;
Think not you are weak nor few;
Banish discords that benumb you
And your noble aims undo.

Battle hymns with hope imbue you:
Women pray with faces wan:
Let your Cause with strength endue you;
See the children cheer you on!

Many longed to see this day dawn;
Many died to bring it near:
With your forces in array drawn,
Give your dead a lusty cheer. [page 120] 

For Humanity they perished,
In the dim-lit aisles of Time:
Take their martyr spirit, cherished,
It will make for deeds sublime.

Freedom does not fall from heaven;
God and Nature hate a slave:
Cowards are no glory given
In the triumphs of the brave.

To your colors (do not dally!)
Gather at the bugle’s call,
Shouting as your cohorts rally,
“All for one, and one for all!” [page 121] 

How Much Longer

Did you hear the babies crying—
Crying for the want of bread?
Did you hear the women sighing
For the plenteous days long dead?
Bitter, bitter, are the tear drops
That the hungry children shed,—
And they strike our hearts like lead.

Did you see the workmen tramping 
Past the fact locked factory door,
While the yellow sun rays, slanting,
Glide along the dusty floor?
Heavy, heavy, are their footsteps,—
Heavy are their hearts and sore;
Must they tramp forevermore?

How much longer, O ye rulers,
Can you let the children cry?
How much longer, O ye masters, [page 122]
Will you hear the women sigh?
How much longer O ye people,
Must we watch the workers die? [page 123]

Comrade

(After reading Bouck White’s “Call of the Carpenter”)

I had not hitherto measured the height and depth of thy loyalty,
The tenderness of thy affection:
I had not hitherto realized the encompassing nature of thy love,
Its power for persistent uplift.

Hitherto I had observed thee through the mists of Pauline metaphysics,
And through the tenets of a moth-eaten theology
Preached by modern parasitical Pharisees who love large temples
And are enamoured of wealthy congregations.

I had not known thee only as the elder brother of the needy,
And the fervent foe of a wordliness [page 124]
Typified in the spirit-destroying lust wealth and ease
Of many who petition thee with long petitions.

Now, it has been borne in upon me, that among all sturdy democrats,
Loving the struggling mass with a great yearning,
And hating the pride and pomp of privilege with a great hatred
Thou, Galilean carpenter, must stand evermore supreme! [page 125]

The Survival of the Fittest

When the Paleolithic man
From an angry cave-bear ran,
And climbed in haste a prehistoric tree,
Loud he voiced the fear he felt.
Till his tribesmen took the pelt,
Of that cave-bear, and they bore it home in glee.

It was thus he learned to see,
What has oft occurred to me,
(Though to fight a monster all alone is brave)
It is well that there should be,
Somewhere handy two or three
Of your tribesmen, when your case is growing grave.

So, although the fit survive,
In a world where all must strive,
Is it true the fit would win out all alone? [page 126] 
Will the fit not ever be,
Those who call in two or three,
Or a million more until the fight is won? [page 127]

“O Island of Dreams”

I dream sometimes of a Happy Isle,—
Better and brighter than this,—
Where Grief has turned from Bitterness,
And both make way for Bliss.

Its pleasing contours are the same
As the isle of my home doth boast;
Low hills, with rocks all glacier-ground,
Valleys sea-drowned on the coast,

Forming deep bays where ships ride safe,—
(Havens sought by the tempest-torn)
While a beacon gleams from each jutting point,
From dark till the break of morn.

The low hills carry a forest growth 
Of the spruce and fir and pine,
While here and there through grey-stem’d oaks
Will a red arbutus shine. [page 128]

And I see no slaves or masters there,
And I see no ships of war;
And armed men do not tread its soil,
Since soldiers train no more.

I see no signs of former want,
Or the old pot-bellied pride;
But I see the smiling eyes of Joy
Bright-beaming by my side.

I find no priesthood of Might thrives there,
(“Steel hand in a silken glove”)
But a ministry teaching the gospel
Of Equality and Love. [page 129]

Liebknect and Jaurés

A Christ was nailed upon a wooden cross,
And Socrates was forced to drink the poisoned cup
Because they would not stoop to trim
And shape their views to suit the ruling class:
So brothers mine, in this still barbarous age,
When Profit rules and men descend to beasts
At bidding of old fear-crazed monarchies,—
You too have found the martyr’s grave,—
The long soft silence that is Death.

I name the German first: he suffered most.
Behind the prison bars long years he spent,
Because he loved the people, and refused
To see their wrongs and acquiesce in silence.
He stripped the mask from off War Lord’s face,
Exposed corrupt officials round the throne,
Who even while they prated loyalty to race, [page 130]
Were secret hirelings of the murder trust,
That profited by keeping all aflame
Men’s brutal passions and their ancient feuds.

Jean Jaurès, suddenly struck down
By the assassin’s bullet!
Was ever heart’s blood spilled that warmer flowed
For all the oppressed and disinherited of earth!
That lion heart is quiet now: that mighty voice
That troubled so the peace of bourgeois France,
No more shall sway the multitudes,
No more shall plead with vivid eloquence
The cause of progress and humanity. [page 131]

Progress

We found a way to the Land of a Sweeter Life,
And sent forth a call far and wide for volunteers
To bridge the deep gorges, the quagmires and meres,
And clear the dark passes where dangers were rife.

A brave few responded, from far and from near;
Some, old grizzled vet’rans of many a fight,
And youths with their souls and their faces alight,
Who had triumphed o’er Self and the enemy, Fear.

Then came some blest women with comfort and aid
For those who were stricken and fell to the side:
What tenderness blossomed! what pettiness died! [page 132]
As through the rough country the roadway was made.

Our enemies hampered us early and late;
(Some still loved the Land of the old Bitter Life.
While some were mad with the poison-fumes of strife)
But we wore them down and spiked their guns of Hate.

When we had graded and finished the road at last.
Over the dismal swamps and the mountain crest;
We who had labored and fought so long did rest,
And laugh with the happy people thronging past.

The way of Progress is ever with conflict rife;
Struggle and tears are ever the price we pay,
Who clear and build in the chaos of Yesterday,
Making a road to the Land of a Sweeter Life. [page 133]

The Enchantress

A longing once again to view
The distant blue-limned hills,
To drink again with thirsty lips
At ice-fed mountain rills,
To scale again great rocky peaks,
And wander echoing canyons through,
Took me from you.

A longing once again to see,
The early sun rays light
With fiery glow the lifted crest
Of snowy mountain height,
To stroke with lazy, loving oar.
The quiet waters, deep and blue,
Took me from you.

But each elusive cloud suggests
Thy changefulness and grace,
And every dew-kissed rose commends
The sweetness of thy face; [page 134]
The whisp’ring pines that roof my head
Bid me their lonely joys eschew,
And turn to you. [page 135]

A Child Went Wandering

A child went wandering into the rain,—
Into the rain on a stormy night;
Enduring coldness, numbness and pain,—
He wandered away from the warmth and light.

Conscious of naught but his pitiful plight,
He sobbed and moaned in his discontent,
Through hours slow-footed, seeking a sight
Of the cheerful mansion from which he went.

As he cried aloud in his fear and woe,
He saw near by, ‘mid the ghostly trees—
Exhausted and weeping—sad and low,—
A smaller child, on its bended knees.

Forgetting his grief he offered aid,
And comforting words — for the rain had ceased,—
When lo! o’er the dark clouds, storm-arrayed,
The sun rose glorious out of the east. [page 136]

Play Me Something Dearest

Now play me something dearest, while the summer twilight fades,
Something that will quicken the fast departing shades
Of days long passed and over, the happy dreams of old,
When youth was high and buoyant and the spirit strong and bold.

Play something gay and sprightly, for the days of long ago
Some bright fantastic measure that will set the heart aglow;
A lilt to lift my heaviness, to make me young again,
Like a giant strong of passion in a world of sombre men.

Now press the softer pedal for the lower, sweeter notes, [page 137] 
The sad and tender cadence that the autumn day denotes,
The dreamy rhythmic beating of the rain upon the leaves,
The murmurs of the swallows as they seek the shelt’ring eaves.

‘Tis well! the mem’ries blossom, the days come trooping back,
Some robed like brides in springtime and some in grey and black,
And they fill my heart my dearest, they sweep across my soul,
Now giving boundless pleasure, now letting pain control.

Ever they go together, these sisters so sad and so gay:
Life has so fashioned them for us, linked them forever and aye,—
No one can take all pleasure, dividing it from the pain,
No one can have all sunshine, shunning the clouds and the rain. [page 138]

Now play me something dearest of what can not be told
Some vision of the future that is neither new nor old.
And for just a single moment draw aside the veil of time
And show me fairer mansions in a brighter better clime.

None other knows the password that can ope those gates of pearl;
‘Tis a something deep within thee that can mysteries unfurl;
But I cannot hold their beauties long, however I would try,—
Still the mem’ry of them ligners when the fields of life grow dry.

Cease playing now my dearest, and let me have your hands,
That are so true and nimble when my heart their skill demands; [page 139]
I would stroke them and caress them while the mood is swaying free,—
I could almost give them worship for the thoughts they start in me. [page 140]

Would Your Dear Lips Smile In Welcome

Had I crooked the knee, acquired a fawning tone,
Obeisance paid the gods of wealth alone,
Passed heedless of my injured brother’s moan;

A brigand of the brigands had I been,
And glorying in brigandage—a sin
Bearing slight stigma in the age we’re in—

That I might heap rich treasures at your feet—
Gained privily by treachery and deceit,—
Would your dear lips smile in welcome when we meet? [page 141]

The Old Man’s Vision

When night dropping down like a curtain,
Flings o’er him the spell of its dreams,
The present grows dim and uncertain,
And over his spirit there streams
The phantoms of passionate longings
That lived in his heart long ago:

Then bright through the haze and confusion
Of changeful and strenuous years,
A fair and delightsome illusion
From out of the darkness appears,—
And he looks on the face of his sweetheart,
Who sleeps where the violets blow. [page 142]

Mother Love

One only love
Through all the change of years,
Grows fresher, sweeter—dearer to my heart:
One only love—
Baptised in pain and tears—
Can bridge the weary miles we dwell apart.

No other love 
So tireless, faithful, true,
That only death can part its golden links:
No other love—
Though dark disgrace pursue—
No falt’ring knows, nor evil ever thinks [page 143]

Roses I Send To You

Roses I send to you:
Beautiful messengers, fragrant and fair,
Greeting the morning all guiltless of care,
Ready to grace your dark tresses of hair:—
Such I commend to you.

Roses I send to you:
Blushingly conscious, each bud how demure!
Sad that their beauties so briefly endure!
Yet ere they fade may they carry secure,
All I intend to you. [page 144]

The Old Year

This is the old year’s end you say,
A time when Retrospection grey
Looks sadly o’er the leaves of life,
And gravely points to errors rife
In what we did from day to day.

He notes a blot where anger stirred
The hasty blood: the rash soul heard,
But heeded not the voice that cried:
The passion held full sway, nor died
For many days—the ugly bird.

Down lower on the page he’ll see
A dirty blur where a word should be:
Twas here we lost a chance to save
A friend from ill, by being brave:—
Symbol fit of a coward’s fee!

And here the words are twisted out
Like a line of cavalry in rout. [page 145] 
As we turned to right and then to left,
Like a little babe of help bereft,
Weakly groping in fear and doubt.

See if we wrote one page benign,
Steady and true and strong and fine,
Found! let us copy it—painful, slow—
Over the letters and words we’ll go;
So learning it line upon line. [page 146]

Granny

My granny was a dear good soul,
Old-fashioned in her ways;
She paid no heed to modern styles,
Nor any modern craze.

She played her quiet, humble part,
(So helpful, kind and true)
With mind more fixed on heaven than earth,—
As old saints always do.

She won my heart, I must confess,
In childhood’s early years,
Because when giving me a bath
She never hurt my ears. [page 147]

Margaret

In the dark I see,
Shining bright,
Eyes that tenderly,
Fill with light,
And above them in a mass
(Burnished gold)
Hair an artist could not pass,
Softly rolled.

In those eyes so grey,
I would be,
Imaged day by day,
As the sea
Mirrors forms upon the shore
When ‘tis calm,—
Paints the pine, the sycamore,
And the palm.

Lips of rosy red,
Such as thine, [page 148]
How they turn the head,
Like the wine
Of a vintage old and rare,
Sparkling clear,—
Friends and enemies of care,
And of fear. [page 149]

Doubt

In your heart a double crept
Like a vine,
That will twine
Into every pleasant nook,
Creeping almost while you look
Into spots devout kept.

Not a hint your eyes gave,
Nor your lips,
Gay with quips;
Yet within your heart it grew,
All your peace of mind it slew,—
Claimed you as a prize-slave.

In a flash the light came,
Pierced your heart
Like a dart,
And the soul was stung to life;
Fear and bitterness late rife
Perished in its white flame. [page 150]

Send No Flowers

They murdered him, out on the grey-green sea,
Where he sold himself for the means of life,
When they piled the deck of the little craft
With heavy freight, when the storms were rife.

Well I remember his features fine,
With the laughing mouth and the boyish eyes.
The dark hair over his temples fair,
And the brownish freckles, small in size,

That clustered about the bridge of his nose,
Where the sun had played with his frank young face:
But now he lies so quiet and white,—
So quiet and white in a quiet place.

He had a mother who loved him well—
As mothers do the whole world round,—
And in distant other worlds I trow,
Wherever mothers and sons are found. [page 151]

And she who had borne him, nursed him well,
Taught him to walk, to speak, to pray,—
Words cannot tell of the grief she felt
When they brought him home dead that day.

Over her soul the memories swept,
Of his baby prattle, his lisping talk,
Of his chubby legs so hard to guide
When he made his first attempt to walk.

She could remember his cute white toes,
Impatient of socks and coverlet:
His huge delight when daddy came home,
And took in his arms, his boy, his pet.

Not for a thousand ships at sea,
Not for a million in gold piled high,
Would she have faced her loss that day,
And seen the death-glaze over his eye.

O who can tell of a mother’s grief!
Who can whisper her anguish of heart!
When the cold and merciless hand of death
Drags her and her child apart—apart! [page 152] 

He had been reared in an old world faith,
That reverenced pope and crucifix;
He had been taught to attend the mass,
And keep the fasts that the fathers fix:

He had been taught that the end of life,
Was to worship God as the Roman See
Declares is the only certain way,
To bliss in a long eternity.

But old world faiths grow weak with us,
Who live in a keener, clearer clime,
And the new world thoughts crept in on him,
Slowly, yet surely, one at a time:

And so at last he was one of us—
Whom Mammon cannot bind or gag,
That carry war to the enemy’s camp,
With truths that follow the blood-red flag.

Greater than priesthood or pope to him,
Greater than money, or aught beside,
Was the glorious fight for freedom of life
In which earth’s countless heroes have died. [page 153] 

Ere from the church that his mother loved,
They bore him away with solemn tread,
A notice was sent to the daily press,—
And, “send no flowers,” the notice read.

No wreath we placed on the coffin black,
Nor did we stand in the graveside ring,
For though we knew he was one of us,—
A mother’s love is a sacred thing. [page 154]

The Death of Love

I was there at the death of Love,
When she passed in the cold grey dawn;
And the curtains of mist, close round, above,
By the Angel of Life were drawn,—
The Angel hovering near like a dove,
With a face tear-stained and wan.

And Love with her languid eyes
That were once so laughing bright,
Gazed out with a look as of dread surprise
At the shades of her oncoming night,—
As all her vast empire, unheeding her cries,
Slipped out of her hands so white. [page 155]

You Must Not Grieve

You must not grieve, for Grief is like a wind
That dries the springs of being, saps the mind,
And chills the life with numbing Bitterness
That gazes never forward, but behind.

You must not grieve like some poor earth-bound lout.
And in your grieving all your bounties flout:
The true perspective you will shortly gain
And see that what was lost, you’re best without.

You must not grieve, for battles must be fought;
The soul’s divine adventures must be sought:
Dull Grief unnerves the hand that wields the blade,
And brings your spiritual war to naught.

You must not grieve, for work is better far;—
Instead, just “hitch your wagon to a star” [page 156]
And strive with all your powers alert, intense,
To reach the destiny that gleams afar.

Rise from your fall, and laugh Fate in the face:
Smooth from your soul, Grief’s faintest, lightest trace,
(Bitter grows sweet, and sweet grows bitter oft)
Who knows but what the next card is an ace! [page 157]

“Virgin’s Lullaby” 

(At a Twilight Recital)

Out of the dusk of the twilight,
A maid in a nun-like garb
Stepped softly into our presence,
As the setting sun-rays barred
The reeds of the high pipe organ,
The quiet crowd in the pews;
Painting all with the colors
Of stained-glass window hues.

Soft and low was the music,
Sweet and low was the song,
Coming from out of the twilight
To the spell-bound listening throng,
Beautiful dark-robed singer,
Your song it shall never die.
Till all the loving mothers of men
Shall cease singing “lullaby!” [page 158]

The Musician to His Love

Would you still leave me? Go then I bid you:
If you’re not of me, best begone straight
To him you love best.
I would not hold you captive, nor rid you
Of one least desire to find a fit mate,
And new pleasures test.

I know you! You’ll quit me when from you drop,
Yearnings for visions that shine through the fire
And leap from the mist:
When you no longer would draw out the stop
And bid the pipe organ’s music roll higher,
That angels might list.

You will be free of me when your soul sees
Clearly as mine does the message of time,—
Gathers its meaning,—
Lives in the waters the clouds and the breeze, [page 159]
Feels the great life-currents flowing sublime,—
Wearies of leaning. [page 160]

Why

Over my life a potent spell
Pregnant with good I know—
Whether of bliss the fruition or knell—
(A kiss or a blow)
You in your innocent loveliness cast,
Leaving me helpless and weak as you passed,
With my heart aglow.

Why, I ask, should you wake me now,
After I passed intact,
Many who craved for the love that thou
Couldst as well have lacked?
Fain would I answer the riddle I give:
I did not will that this love should live;
But I face the fact. [page 161]

I Wonder

Across long miles, or a row of seats
You call me, and bring but dull grey Grief
Who gloats o’er the treasures of Love like a thief
While counting the quick heart-beats.

He haunts you all through the silent night,
As you sleepless wait for the leaden dawn
That drives him from view,—though he is not gone!—
You have not put him to flight!

He endlessly argues of right and wrong,
And holds you in hell by the fear of sin:
I wonder—I wonder if Love should win
Would Grief still prove to be strong? [page 162] 

“Star of the Evening”

Dream fairies waft me to days long ago,
When tucked in my cradle and rocked to and fro,
I heard my dear mother, the old songs sing,
As twilight its shadows about us did fling.
The quaint old ballads, the old fashioned airs,
Soothed all childish troubles and babyhood’s cares;
And one I remember above all the rest,
Because of them all I loved it the best:—
I can hear her low voice again, faint and afar,
Singing, “Star of the Evening; beautiful star.”

Mother, dear mother, the years have been long,
Since you lulled me asleep with your low sweet song;
And I question at times,—where the end? what the goal?
As the travel-dust clings to the garb of my soul. [page 163]

But a hope burns within me, unquenchable, clear,
That sometime again — whether distant or near—
With much added knowledge and much added poise,
I shall taste once again of those innocent joys,
With no cares to burden, no errors to mar,
As I was when you sang of the “beautiful star”!

Dear little mother, your old fashioned song,
Makes me forget the road, dusty and long,
Makes me forget all the sorrow and wrong;
And I listen again in my cradle-bed white
To “Beautiful Star in heaven so bright,
Softly falls thy silvery light.” [page 164]

The Discouraged Poet

Do you bid me sing of the open air,
And the stars that watch through the quiet night,
Of the creeping tides and the black reefs bare
With the waves up-curling around them white!

Do you bid me sing of the silent woods,
Where the tall ferns glisten with dewy gems,
And the deep moss carpets the earth and hoods
The mouldering stumps and rotting stems!

Do you bid me sing of the long lone trail
That leads to the distant snow-crowned peaks,—
From whence all earth-born hopes seem frail,
And Nature’s voice to the spirit speaks!

Do you bid me sing how the ages won
A circle of worlds from the central sphere, [page 165]
When out from the glowing mass of the sun
The planets did one by one appear!

Do you bid me sing of the upward swing
Of life from its lowliest, humblest forms,
To the god-like creatures yet to spring
From the strain of humans that breast life’s storms!

Songs might I sing you of one and all,
The glories and wonders of earth and skies,
Were I not dumb to their subtle call,
Since the love-light died in my sweetheart’s eyes. [page 166]

Aspiration

Would I could sharpen this dull edgèd tool
That binds me and limits me, rule upon rule;
Would I could find a fit mode for my song,
Then would I free it and send it along.

Give to me music, so soft and so low,—
Limpid and pure as the waters that glow
Out of the clefts in the high granite peaks;
Music to still every discord that speaks:

Music so vague, so intangible, sweet,
Like to the borderland fancies that meet,
Mingle a moment, illumine, depart,
Leaving dim mem’ries of bliss in the heart.

Music so palpitant, vibrant and free,
Glimpsing the glories of life yet to be.
Deeper than thunder and brighter than fire,—
Then might I tell of the soul’s high desire. [page 167]

Friendship

A clear stream flowing from a living spring,
Cool and refreshing as the morning air,
And having in it properties that act
As medicine upon the spirit.

A cloud to shield us from the blazing sun
And sprinkle love upon our thirsty hearts.
That else might wither like decadent trees
And lose their growth and healthful verdure.

A love from folly and from passion free:
A sweet commune of souls whose only tie
Is likeness in their vision of the Good;—
A bond sufficient and enduring. [page 168]

Love’s Astronomy

A warm south wind and a black sky sprinkled with stars;
We two lone, afloat on the rippling lake,
With silence enfolding, engulfing us—nothing that mars,
Allowed to intrude upon us and Earth of our Eden make.

How good to drift in the silence and watch the golden suns,
Seemingly fixed in the heavens, for a million years the same,
But knowing each orb so glorious to its ultimate destiny runs
And dies and fades in the blackness as a warrior dies to fame.

Would that you and I to-night, could fuse to a single star, [page 169]
With the flame of a radiant love, singing, creative, bent,
On lighting the trackless space of ether cold and far,
As we raced through countless ages on our cosmic song intent. [page 170]

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