Modernist Canadian Poets
My Sanctuary Garden
20th Feb 2014Posted in: Modernist Canadian Poets 0

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MY SANCTUARY GARDEN
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[illustration]
Alice Elizabeth Wilson
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MY
SANCTUARY
GARDEN
By
ALICE
ELIZABETH
WILSON

McCLELLAND AND STEWART
PUBLISHERS — TORONTO
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COPYRIGHT, CANADA, 1937
by McCLELLAND & STEWART LIMITED, TORONTO

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To
All Holy and Beautiful things,
and in memory of Alice Elizabeth
Wilson, my beloved daughter,
companion and friend, this book of
collected poems is dedicated by her
mother.

ANNIE M. WILSON.

[page v]

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Foreword

   Poetic insight is a mysterious thing. This power called inspiration is one which is shared by all poets from the highest to the lowest. No one comes in contact with it without marvelling that its possessor can be so aware of unseen realities, so filled and uplifted by the certainty of eternal beauty manifested through material things.

Every community should welcome and encourage those gifted with that vision which sustains life, lest the spirit of a growing nation should be deadened by a materialism which fails to see—

“The Glory lying in a gold-cupped flower
Star-dust descending from blue depths serene,
The iridescent wings that quivering float—
To breathe the opening wonder of a rose.”

One whose eyes were ever open to such beauty—whose marked characteristic was always an intense love of birds, flowers, trees and all the beauties of nature, has passed into the Great Beyond, after a few years of work, literary and musical, given freely to all good causes.

Alice Elizabeth Wilson was born in Sherbrooke on December 11th, 1897 and died October 19th, 1934. Educated at private school, she later entered the Sherbrooke High School where she obtained, on leaving, an Associate of Arts certificate and two scholarships. [page vii]

She afterwards attended McGill University where she graduated in 1920 with the degree of Bachelor of Arts.

She travelled extensively, in Europe and on this continent, visiting many places of historic interest, afterwards embodying her experiences in vivid prose.

Always a keen student, she began her literary work early, publishing many children’s stories which were notable for their simplicity and purity of thought.

Indeed all her work bears the distinctive mark of directness of feeling and statement, while her descent from four generations of pioneer stock gave her an instinctive understanding of the struggles of the first settlers which had begun to inspire her poems and colour her plans for future prose works.

She had a great capacity for friendship, of the kind that gives generously and rejoices in the success and happiness of others. It is a pleasure, to one who had that friendship, to write a foreword to the poems, collected and published by her dearest friend—her mother, whose understanding sympathy in all her daughter’s efforts, gave unfailing strength and encouragement to Alice Elizabeth Wilson’s life work.

Her personal and religious life was never pressed into the foreground of her intercourse with the world, but was—as she herself expressed it—“My Sanctuary Garden”, in which all simple thoughts of beauty grew into expression. [page viii]

The fatal illness which attacked her in the spring of 1934, put an end to her literary work and culminated in her death in the autumn.

Had she been spared to fulfil her early promise and continued growth in power and beauty of expression—to quote our great poet Marjorie Pickthall—

“I would have given you others gifts than this—
Songs and clear days, and little dreams fulfilled,
But rest is His,
And rest is all He willed.”

As she lay in her pale grey casket, under the candlelight, surrounded by flowers, wrapped in the folds of an exquisite white lace veil, the gift of a dead friend—the lines of the same poet came to mind.—

“O, looked she sad or seemed she glad?
Most like a star, that knows
Only the loveliness it had,
The light to which it goes.”

MINNIE HALLOWELL BOWEN.[page ix]

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The Funeral of
ALICE ELIZABETH WILSON
October 21st, 1934.

A beautiful and significant thing took place as the funeral cortege passed down Montreal St. An Elm Tree Suddenly shed all its yellow leaves, which drifted down, in a golden shower, upon the hearse, leaving the branches bare.

Like gentle fingers pushing back the gloom,
Tall tapers, in the candelabra, shed
Their yellow light about the music room,
Upon the coffin where the quiet Dead
Lay robed in flowers; white lilies, roses red
Swathed her in fragrance. Harmony unheard,
From chords she loved, the quickened silence stirred
With immortality — above a head
Its snow of years in mortal anguish bowed
Beneath a sorrow that no words could tell;
Apart, in sacred moments from the crowd,
Bidding the joy of spring a last farewell.

A Tree there was, that understood of God,—
The love of birds and flowers, all growing things
Uplifting from the cling of shrouding sod
Takes thought of men to heaven on soaring wings,—
And one, whose soul of beauty ever sings,
Attains to it, in some mysterious way;
Now, as she passed within a casket grey [page xi] 
To her last rest—a tribute worthy Kings
Came from the Elm upon her!
Leaves of gold—
A shining shower of blessing, softly fell,
Each one a promise of sure joy untold;—
The heart of Nature bidding her farewell.

MINNIE HALLOWELL BOWEN. [page xii]

CONTENTS

PAGE

DEDICATION

v

FOREWORD

vii

THE FUNERAL OF ALICE ELIZABETH WILSON

xi

VISION OF YOUTH

1

POETIC IMPRESSION—CONSOLATION

2

POETIC IMPRESSION

4

MUSICAL IMPRESSION

6

HAIL, O ROYAL VICTORIA COLLEGE

7

LIFE

8

INVOCATION

9

THOUGHTS

10

SILVER SLIPPERS

11

GRIEF

12

FAME

13

BOOKS

14

SOFT MOONLIGHT ON THE SNOW

15

DESTINY

16

PETALS

17

IF

18

SUNSET ON LAKE MASSAWIPPI

19

NORTHERN LIGHTS

20

OCTOBER DAYS

21

WIND

22

THE PLUM TREE

23

OUT OF THE DUSK

24

CANADA

25

THREE CANADIANS

26

A QUAINT LITTLE GARDEN

28

THE LITTLE NEW MOON

29

AN AUTUMN NIGHT

30

THUNDERSTORM

31

[page xiii]

SPRING

32

TO A VIOLET

33

IN THE ATTIC ON A RAINY DAY

34

SNOW FLAKES

35

THE BIRCH TREE

36

CAPE TRINITY

37

WONDER

38

SHADOWS

39

LULLABY

40

WISTFUL

41

MY DREAM GARDEN

42

THE AFTER-GLOW

43

TO AN EVENING PRIMROSE

44

A TREMBLING MOTH

45

CAPTIVITY

46

IN IDLE MOOD

47

GYPSY LEAVES

48

I HEARD A MOCKING-BIRD

49

WHEN I SING

50

LOVE IS LIKE A CRIMSON ROSE

51

TO MY MOTHER

52

OVER THE HILLS

53

A GOLDEN LEAF AFLOAT

54

WIND IN THE WOOD

55

ROUNDEL

56

NARCISSUS

57

I SHALL SING MY SONGS

57

CONTENTMENT

58

IF IN MY MUSIC

59

STORM

60

LITTLE BROWN BIRD

61

RETROSPECT

62

[page xiv]

FRAGRANCE

64

OH HOLY BABE

65

CHRISTMAS BELLS

66

TO A FRIEND

67

SUMMER NIGHT

68

TWO PICTURES

69

A MUSICIAN’S WISH

70

WINTER-THAW

71

A CRADLE SONG

72

A FLURRY OF SNOW-FLAKES

73

TO SLEEP

74

NOCTURNE

75

A VALENTINE

76

IN THE HAYFIELD

77

NIGHT RAPTURE

78

INTERTWINEMENT

79

FANTASY

80

TRIOLET

81

A SUNBEAM

82

A FANCY

83

THE ANSWER

84

CANADIAN SPRUCE TREES IN WINTER

85

ROUNDEL

86

STALACTITE CAVES — BERMUDA

87

LONE-PINE ROCK

88

TO A TEACHER, M.J.M.

89

CAMPAIGN SONG FOR VICTORIAN ORDER OF NURSES

90

THE HERMIT AT BLUE POINT

91

THE SUGARING-OFF

92

RESURRECTION

93

THE QUEST

94

[page xv]

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My Sanctuary Garden

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Vision of Youth

COULD man but turn and be a boy again,
To walk with sandalled feet through childhood days,
How quickly would his nimble youth regain
Time-hidden haunts, forgotten little ways
That fashioned age. Small hands would reach for toys
That filled the happy hours, on pleasure bent,
With lilting laughter and mechanic noise;	
Bright eyes would watch, with ever grave intent,
Unfathomed depths or brim with trembling tears
That ebbed with strength; dim hopes would gather weight
And scamper through the intervening years
Beside the sturdy form of constant Fate,
Till life, far-flung in distant worlds, would seem
To bring fulfilment of an early dream. [page 1]

 

Poetic Impression
“CONSOLATION”
Song Without Words – – MENDELSSOHN, Op. 30. No. 3.
DUSK”—Reverie
SOFTLY the winds whisper in the trees

—then cease.

Far o’er the mountain
the evening sun is sinking,
Flame upon flame
arises but to die;

High in the heavens,
where dusk is slowly falling,
Stars faintly gleam
and deepen with the night;

Birds, hastening home,
their little mates are calling,
Wing with delight,
fluttering round the silent trees
where are deftly hidden
nests so neatly woven

Now they are gone
and my fancy
is straying to a primrose [page 2]
Opening to breathe
its beauty to the air.

Joy fills my heart!
Rapture returns!
Peace comes with dusk
to rest the weary soul.
Softly the winds whisper in the trees
—then cease. [page 3]

Poetic Impression
La Fille Aux Cheveux de Lin—(DEBUSSY)

Once in a wood,
by the edge of a stream,
where the ferns nestle close to the rocks,
And the stalwart trees
swaying to the soft breeze,
Pattern shadows that run
with the light of the sun
as it chases its beams
through the glen—down to the lea,
sweeping on—out towards the sea.
There I saw on the white cooling sand,
such a maid—
with flowing hair that seemed
but threads of gold
that Fate had spun
from magic fleece,
to flaunt its glory in the face of the sun.
Blue were her eyes
and her lips were as red
as a rose,
as she leaned to touch their bloom
to the stream, [page 4] 
and to sip the sparkling depths of the springs,
while her hair
spread in a wave
like a silken floss.
Then,
in pensive mood,
swiftly she waded
where the reeds were in a great profusion growing,
Plucked a stem and blew its hollow husk in sound,
Soft was the note
like a throb from the throat
of a bird singing love to its mate.
Then flinging far the flute,
she wildly danced
upon the sand
like one whom Pan had taught
to sway in rhythmic joy,
‘Till like a sprite that rides the wind,
she fled from my sight—
away—
away—.  [page 5]

 

Musical Impression
Antique Gavotte—by GOSSEC

CLOSE within the shelter of a castle-wall,
Music sweetly echoes through an ancient hall;
Daintily the dancers circle to and fro,
Stepping in turn with a pointed toe.
Here a haughty baron, with a furrowed frown,
Greets a wealthy matron in a silken gown,
While a gallant laddie, with a twinkling eye,
Whispers to a maiden as she passes by.
One—two—three—four—steadily they swing,
Forward—backward—to the merry music’s lilting ring
‘Till each man, smiling his pleasure,
Bows for a measure	
As the minstrels pause—to permit applause.
Then, while the aged couples sit and talk,
Youth steals discreetly to the garden-walk,
There, in the shadows kneeling,
Dreams of the heart revealing,
Now love warm lips are sealing
In a vow.

Merrily the dancers trip it to and fro,
Gracefully they curtsy in a double row;
Madam to the baron gives a jewelled hand,
He bows obedience to her command;
Youth returns to linger in a long good-night,
Even though the stars are paling in their light,
‘Till when the last reveller has gone his way,
Dawn has streaked the Eastern sky with shades of day. [page 6]

Hail, O Royal Victoria College
(Set to tune of “Gaudeamus”.)
First Prize College song in 1920 competition.

THERE’S a College of McGill
Nestling ‘neath the same old hill.   (Repeat)
May we always love her truly
   Give her always honour duly
   Hail, O Royal Victoria,
   Hail, O Royal Victoria.

Now we sing to thee our praise;
Laud and honour duly raise.   (Repeat)
Through the years new voices singing
Keep thy name forever ringing.
Hail, O Royal Victoria,
Hail, O Royal Victoria.

Copyright 1921 by the Students’ Council of McGill University.[page 7]

Life

A LIFE, within itself, is as a day,
Each dawn is birth unfolding to the morn,
Each dusk is death as darkness dims the way
Of earthly age. A day is duly born
A beauteous thing; what fitful fortune spills
Upon the sands of time, the glass will show,
As in the crystal globe, the hour fills
The destined depths that quickly come and go.

One hour is dark; wild, wailing winds arise
With rumbling rains that drip with dismal sound;
Another softly breaks with sunny skies
That shed a brightening beam upon the ground;
Yet each is needful; each, with plenteous grace,
Is planned to find and fill a proper place. [page 8]

Invocation

SWEET song caress me with a gentle kiss
Upon the lips, to fill my heart with bliss,
And touch the magic chords that will inspire
My voice to meet each melody’s desire.

Teach me an airy tune that breathes of spring
Or tells of singing bird upon the wing,
And then in sombre, minor tones portray
The deeper darkness of a winter’s day.

Give me the power to lift the harrowed mind
From out itself, and lead it on to find
The greater things of life expressed in love,
And turn its tender thoughts to God above. [page 9]

Thoughts

A HUSH hangs heavy on the hills to-day,
Expectant of the autumn’s passing soon;
Like burning dryads, in a massed array,
The trees are standing in the silent noon,
And Massawippi’s waters calmly lie
A mirror to the clouds that softly tread
The steep ascending stairway of the sky.

What if the coming winds will soon be cold,
And snow will cover with a cloak of white,
To-day the scenes of beauty must unfold
A warmth of vision in the quiet sight!
Let forward thoughts upon the future cease,
Enjoy the present in its perfect peace. [page 10]

Silver Slippers

IN an old leather trunk
In a dark attic-corner,
With delicate fingers
I touch a secret treasure.
Only a pair of slippers—
But Time turns swiftly back
On flying feet,
Dancing, dancing
Into the realms of a fancy
To the rhythm of a waltz.
Strong arms once more enfold me
Closer, closer,
The warmth of a nearness,
Heart beating to heart,
Re-kindles a rapture,
Brief,
Far too brief in its living.
A pair of silver slippers
Tear-stained and worn—
Yet only in death
Will memory cease mocking them
Dancing, dancing
Into the realms of a fancy
To the rhythm of a waltz. [page 11]

 

Grief

HOW trivial
Is petty grief,
And yet	
How like a ready thorn
To pierce the timid flesh.
The rose of life
Is fair
When lightly touched,
But if the soul
Aspires to its possession,
Then, 
The wounding thrust
Of each companion thorn
Sinks to the heart,
Blinding the eyes
To beauty’s worth,
If beauty must
Be bathed in tears. [page 12]

Fame

FAME sat upon a throne
Of beaten gold and precious jewels,
Receiving homage from her court
Of craving souls, contending fools
Bent low in worship of their God.

Full reverently they knelt and touched
Her silken robe, while with their lips
They chanted graceful eulogies,
Their words well savoured with deep dips
In Wisdom’s ever flowing font.

But Fame unheeding turned to look
Upon a distant glowing dais
Where Love and Beauty held their court
With happy youth and in her gaze
Was wistful longing and regret.[page 13]

 

Books

I LOVE the silent friends that come to me
     From printed pages of an open book.—
     Old friends, with souls outspread in sympathy,
Whose phantom eyes meet mine with patient look
As thought pursues a lofty phrase. New friends,
That strive with wealth of written words to hold
The interest of a world that lightly lends
But little ear. Brave minds, both new and old,
     Revealing visions of the inner self
To help mankind obtain a vaster view,
     Their works are legions, lined upon a shelf,
     With shields of amber, rose and goblin-blue.—
I touch each cover with a gentle hand,
A gesture very few could understand. [page 14]

 

Soft Moonlight on the Snow

SOFT moonlight on the snow, and memory
Unveils the dusk that dims the shadowed scene;
A symbol of the dreams that used to be,
Faint hopes re-born to boast what might have been.
How far the rosary of time returns
Upon the outstrung years! Each precious bead
Is legend of a tender thought that burns
Within the silver glow. In vain I heed
The phantom host that slowly passes by,
Frail faces, fashioned from an airy cloud,
Descending in a vision from the sky.
Then, suddenly forlorn, I call aloud,
For, in the misty depths, there grows anew
A strangely sweet remembering of you. [page 15]

 

Destiny

EACH rose upon the bush
Within the bud is fair,
It only waits to burst
Its beauty in the air.

But if the galling worm
Pervades the rose’s heart,
Ah, then in blighted bloom
The tattered petals part.

And thus within our lives,
The soul is like a rose,
Sweet childhood seldom dreams
What fortune will unclose. [page 16]

 

Petals

SOFTLY down the ever changing way
Of life a maiden passed in virgin white,
Her eyes deep blue as heaven all alight
With tender glow and ardent as the ray
Of sun which played on golden hair made gay
By winds, a rival to the blossoms bright
With diamond dew which she with great delight
Held fast within her arms from day to day.

Yet from those blossoms petals fell behind
And they who followed found them painted deep
With worldly deeds, some rashly torn apart
By her cold hands in dark despair to find
The truth and some laid gently down to keep
As sweet remembrance of a maiden’s heart. [page 17]

 

If

IF sunsets are but fragile mists
That rise to meet the fading light,
Sinking with the languid sun
Upon the purple couch of night;

If stars are but reflected suns
That burn upon the mystic way,
Dimming when the ghostly night
Steals from the threshold of the day;

If fragrance is but passing breath
Of ambrose from a flower’s heart,
Dying with the tender bloom,
As tattered petals slowly part;

What then of love —Is it as mist,
As fragrance or a silver star
That fills the soul with moment bliss
Then leaves it thus and wanders far? [page 18]

 

Sunset On Lake Massawippi

THE green hills darken with the shades of night,
The sunset floods the sky with flames of light,

The lake quiescent lies and softly glows
With hues the over-hanging heaven throws.

Along the shore, the purple fireweed stand
Like wanton ghosts that rise from ashen land;

White butterflies, with buoyant wings outspread,
Drift slowly round a honeyed primrose-head,

And hemlocks hang their heavy branches low
Above the bank where crimson berries grow.

No sound within the fragrant air is heard
Beyond the breathless chirping of a bird,

That dips its feathers at the water’s edge
Then plumes itself upon a rocky ledge.

Can this be earth — this silent mystic place,
Or is the dusk reflecting higher grace,

To lift in ecstasy the weary hearts
That droop with tired hands as day departs? [page 19]

 

Northern Lights

ALL heaven is ablaze to-night with stars
As though in festive garb, while in the north
The sky is filled with mystic shrouded hosts
Of glowing figures flitting back and forth.

They seem like risen spirits of the dead
Arrayed in great procession round the Throne,
Tuning their praises to the measured beat
Of silver cymbals and the harp’s sweet tone.

Dumbly I stand, but in my aching heart
A cry goes out to join that happy band
And with them bow my head in lowliness
To gain a blessing from the Saviour’s hand. [page 20]

 

October Days

THE maple leaves are turning
To golden and to red,
While down the silent valley
The singing-birds are fled.

The clematis and bracken
Are tinged a rusty brown,
And aging winds are bearing
Small tufts of thistle-down.

Above the withered clover
The humming bees are still,
The dying sunset lingers
Upon a distant hill.

And in a quiet garden
The broken blooms abound
With seeds in countless numbers
To scatter on the ground.

Where life throughout the winter
Awaits the gentle rain
That frees the frozen furrows
And warms the earth again. [page 21]

 

Wind

MYSTERIOUS mover of the lucid air,
Arising from an ever changing source,
To sometimes blow up with a mighty gust
And sweep the storm clouds forward in their course,
Proclaimed by noisy bands of whirling leaves
Torn from the limbs of supplicating trees;
And sometimes wafting down on quiet wing
To touch frail blossoms with a gentle breeze
Of cool the labouring brow of sun-kissed earth,
Filling the fragrant air with wistful sound
Of softest murmurings which seem to me
Like angel voices whispering timidly. [page 22]

 

The Plum Tree

THE plum tree spread herself with pride
White blossoms decking every bough
Like a little girl who vainly
Nods and smiles the livelong day
When she is wearing something new.

But the wind, a roguish little boy
Had spied the plum tree’s ecstasy,
And creeping through the quiet air
He shook her limbs with fiendish glee
And pursed his lips and blew and blew.

In vain the plum tree bent and swayed
To save her many cherished flowers,
But the playful wind was not content
Until soft petals whirled in showers
And where they sailed we never knew. [page 23]

 

Out of The Dusk

(A Song)

OUT of the gathering dusk I heard
The sweet soft music of a bird,
Calling, calling,
To his little mate above
Pouring out his tender love.

Into the deepening dusk I sang,
My song in plaintive echo rang
Calling, calling,
All the loving thoughts I knew
Over the darkening hills to you.[page 24]

  

Canada

A COUNTRY stretching out from sea to sea,
Abounding in vast forests, lakes and mines,
In fancy like a far flung tapestry
The Master hand has traced in rich designs
That loving sons might weave it with the best
Of honest labour, filling in each part
With noble deeds displayed from east to west
In highest forms of industry and art.

Weave on, brave countrymen, that all the world
May know the masterpiece of work begun
By our proud fathers when they first unfurled
Their standard in this land so hardly won,
Is yet advancing to a greater fame
As each year adds fresh honours to its name. [page 25]

 

Three Canadians

(Approaching Quebec)

The Indian Maiden.

UPON the silver waters of the great St. Lawrence,
An Indian maiden floated in her birch canoe,
And ever raised her eyes from rushing, gleaming torrents
To hill-side forests where the moon came peeping through.
Then quickly sped her glance to where the fires were red
Upon a fortress carved of stone by nature’s hand,
The maiden sighed and raising high her paddle said,
“Oh Mighty Spirits, smile forever on this land.”

The Early Settler.

Up the great St. Lawrence came a little ship
Full rigged with sails and armed with stalwart men and guns,
High in the bow a woman, eager and white-lipped,
Gazed with fear and wonder at the setting sun.
Then as she viewed the darkening shores and massive hills,
She lifted up her hands to heaven and softly prayed,
“Give me strength oh Lord to do thy utmost will
In this new country where our home is to be made.”[page 26] 

Canadian Born.

Up the river crept the liner with the tide,
Bearing men and merchandise from foreign lands,
Upon the deck a woman gazed with glowing pride
At well known shores and tree-clad hills on either hand,
Then as the towering cliffs and ancient fort drew nigh,
And tugs came circling round the ship and whistles blew,
She clasped her hands with happiness and softly cried,
“My Canada! Thank God, I have come home to you.” [page 27]

 

A Quaint Little Garden

I WALKED in a garden, a quaint little garden,
Surrounded by hedges of thorn,	
The birds were all singing
Their sweet voices ringing
Like chime bells greeting the morn.

There grew in that garden, that quaint little garden,
Lilies, lovely and tall,
And big red roses and little blue posies
And daisies brighter than all.

I found in that garden, that quaint little garden,
True love waiting for me,
And of all the flowers in that fairy-like bower,
No one was sweeter than she. [page 28]

 

The Little New Moon

(Song)

WHENEVER the little new moon comes out
And floats in the heavenly sea,
There’s always someone who sees it first
And cries with ecstasy.

Chorus.
Have you seen the little new moon to-night?
It’s way up there in the sky,
And near and far
The silver stars
Are drifting slowly by,
Oh! Have you seen the little new moon to-night?
It’s way up there in the sky.

Now if there’s something you want very much
And you hope it will come true,
Just wish on the little new moon to-night
And she will give it to you.

Chorus.
Have you seen the little new moon to-night?
It’s way up there in the sky,
And near and far
The silver stars
Are drifting slowly by,
Oh! Have you seen the little new moon to-night?
It’s way up there in the sky. [page 29]

 

An Autumn Night

THIN ivy clings about the dripping eaves,
The chilly fog hangs low upon the street,
In fitful gusts, the dying autumn leaves
Are tumbling down; with dull, unsteady beat,
The raindrops fall upon the glistening walk;
Above, the air is vibrant with the cries
Of birds that gather in a fluttering flock,
Then wing their weary way to southern skies.

I close the window on this weeping night,
And crouch within the firelight’s cheerful glow;
Then leaning closer to the flickering light,
I read a poet’s words, to ease the woe
That mournful autumn brings—Ah, silent friend,
What comfort to a lonely soul you lend! [page 30]

Thunderstorm

THE storm king rose up from his couch
And flung a great black sack of rain
Across his back, then stooping down
He lit his monstrous pipe again,
Blowing out a puff which sent
Billowy smoke clouds flying high
And chains of deadly sparks which flashed
In lightening streaks across the sky.

Then grumbling in a thunderous tone
He summoned winds and with them strode
Above the earth to shower rain
And make the moon and stars which rode
In peaceful splendour through the night,
Snuff out their flaunting lights until
His pent-up fury spent itself
And all the quivering air was still. [page 31]

Spring

SPRING came floating through the air
In a ship of glorious sheen,
From the land of the moon with its gardens fair,
O’er an ocean of silver beams.

The breezes wafted her on beyond
Where the fairies piped sweet tunes,
The hill-sides touched by her magic wand,
Awoke and sprang into bloom,

I watched her building her works of art
With her brightly coloured train,
Then something stirred in my aching heart
That bid me hope again. [page 32]

 

To A Violet

SWEET violet, raise your modest head
From the sheltering folds of your mossy bed,
Lift to the heavens your wistful eye
Catching the blue of the April sky.

The sun is shining through lacy trees
Warming the breath of an errant breeze,
And the moon will flow with subtle grace
To silver the top of your tiny face.

The clouds are wandering to and fro,
Brimming with mist for the earth below,
Which the friendly wind, with his finger-tips,
Will waft in a drop to your dainty lips.

So open your heart to the morning sun,
Drink the delight of a day begun,
Then drowsily close with a dream at night,
Wrapped in a beam of the moon’s soft light.[page 33]

In The Attic On A Rainy Day

I LOVE to climb the attic stair
And creep into a quiet nook
Beneath the eaves to stoop and look
At old-time things, at broken toys,
(Sweet remnants of my childhood joys)
At bits of lace and faded flowers
And clocks which tick no more the hours
And then I sit in Grandma’s chair,
Lulled by the gently falling rain
Upon the roof, to dream again
Of bygone says which seem to be
Set forth in gallant pageantry. [page 34]

Snow Flakes

SNOW-FLAKES flying in the air,
Frost on the window pane,
Gone are the flowers rare,
Winter has come again.

The birds sweet voice is still,
Horses neigh in the lane,
The traveller hurries up the hill,
Winter has come again.

The North wind howls about the door,
The fires their glows retain,
The black cat crouches on the floor,
Winter has come again. [page 35]

The Birch Tree

BUT yester-night the silver birch-tree stood
Upon the threshold of a drowsing wood,
Its slender arms, encased in snowy white,
Uplifted calmly to the starry height.

And now the cruel storm has left its mark,
The wind blows wildly through the tattered bark,
The tender, broken limbs are hanging bare
In grim surrender to the ruthless air.

I have a kindly feeling for this tree,
I touch its wounds with gentle sympathy,
For when, long since, I stood in muted grief
Its quiet beauty brought me cool relief. [page 36]

 

Cape Trinity

O THREEFOLD rock whose mighty form abides
In deep, dark waters of the Saguenay,
Cathedral of the hills whose burnished sides
Reflect the glory of the sun by day
And nightly gleam with silver from the moon,
Within whose hidden depths an organ stands
With gaping pipes full set to echo tune
To thunder’s roar or siren’s taunt demands.

The Sculptor’s hand has carved you to remain
A monument to time, revered by all
Who come like pilgrims to a shrine to gain
Redemption from the dull, drab scenes which call
Them with a worldly lure to empty arms
And blind their eyes to nature’s countless charms. [page 37]

 

Wonder

YOUR eyes — deep, crystal pools
Of wonder are,
With love reflecting
Like a golden star.

Your lips — two crimson petals,
Softly twine
To yield in fragrance
As they cling to mine.

Your heart — a wistful bird
Come home to rest
With folded wings
Against my yearning breast.[page 38]

“Shadows”

UP in the sky the full moon’s light
Sheds its beams into the night
Drawing life’s pictures in shadows below
Casting it all on a carpet of snow.

Shadows of the naked trees
Traced like spidery filigree,
House shadows, grotesque and thin
Smoke blotches, grayish and dim.

Shadows of lovers in the lane
Quick to grow and then to wane,
Life is but a shadow ever to the fore
Rising, falling, then seen no more. [page 39]

Lullaby

CALMLY the moon
Shines in the night
Flooding the world
With silvery light.

Soft from the shadows
Echo sweet notes
Lullabies flowing
From feathered throats.

Whispering tree-tops
Join the refrain
Swaying in rhythm
Again and again,

‘Till in her wisdom
Nature it seems
Lulls us to slumber
Woven with dreams. [page 40]

Wistful

I WISH that I could run away
Into a quiet wood to rest
Beneath the gently swaying trees,
And listen to a bird whose nest
Is hidden near. And then perhaps
I’d come across a sunny place
Where violets grow, and picking one,
Find comfort in its tiny face. [page 41]

My Dream Garden

I HAVE a kingdom of my own—a dream garden—
Enclosed by a high strong wall
O’er which my sentry “Happy Thought” stands warden,
And a thousand wishes answer to his call,

Within, rarest flowers outvie each other
In color and glory. Feathered fairies
Pipe magic tunes from secret cover
To which the dancing water nymphs make merry.

No one enters, unless perchance it be
A fancy, bent on bringing smiles to lips and gladness to the eye,
Ugly frowns are banished, that I may see
Only God’s sunshine o’er my garden sky.[page 42]

The After-Glow

JET black landscape fringed with trees
Chiselled against the sky,
Behind,
The sunset’s coral pink
Blending upward into vivid blue,
Above, 
A few dim stars
Striving to throw their deepening glow
Into the waters beneath. [page 43]

 

To An Evening Primrose

EVENING primrose, modest flower,
Blooming in the twilight hour,
Like a maiden in a tower
Hidden in her dainty bower
From the glances of the sun
‘Till the eager day is done.

But when gentle night comes stealing
Petalled heads in slumber sealing,
Then the maid with ardent feeling
Flings the casement wide revealing
Her pale beauty to the moon
Who climbs the heights in silver shoon. [page 44]

A Trembling Moth

A TREMBLING moth
Against the pane,
Pursues the guarded
Light in vain.

A lonely rose
Among its leaves,
In scented silence,
Romance weaves.

So must my heart
A secret hold,
And bear the pangs
Of love untold. [page 45]

Captivity

OH chide me not because I choose to be
A slave to nature’s charms—You cannot know
The pure delights of such captivity;
Is there for you no magic in the snow
That wraps the sleeping hills in glittering shrouds?
Or do you never wonder at the sight
Of sunset-tinted wisps of scurrying clouds
That slip beyond the clutching hand of night?

If in these charms; if in the hush of morn,
Or moonlight flooding spotless winter-fields,
I find contentment and a love fresh-born
For nature and the beauty that it yields,
Then chide me not because I choose to stay
A captive ruled by nature’s potent sway. [page 46]

In Idle Mood

O WHAT care I
If I can lie
Beneath an azure painted sky
And watch the clouds go floating by.

My life is sweet
But so replete
That happy moments are too fleet,
And cruel time will not repeat.

So while I may
Have holiday,
Upon this beach I choose to stay
Until those clouds have passed away. [page 47]

 

Gypsy Leaves

AN autumn wind, with fiendish glee,
Blows the leaves from a maple-tree,
Sweeps them off their tiny feet
And bears them swiftly down the street.

Then the merry little fellows,
Some in reds and some in yellows,
Start in dancing, glancing, prancing,
In a fashion most entrancing,
Like a joyous gypsy band
Romping in the meadow land.

I cry, ‘Oh leaves so gay and free,
Stop, oh stop, and wait for me,
For I would join your happy throng
And with the wind be borne along.’

But the merry little fellows,
Some in reds and some in yellows,
Keep on dancing, glancing, prancing,
In a fashion most entrancing,
Like a joyous gypsy band
Romping in the meadow land. [page 48]

 

I Heard A Mocking-Bird

I HEARD a mocking-bird to-day
In our old apple tree,
He seemed to lift his little head
And sing of you to me.

I gazed upon a pretty flower
Its petals tipped with dew,
And breathed a fragrance from its depths
That made me think of you.

It filled my heart with happy thoughts
I fancied you were near
To raise your trembling lips to mine
And sigh, “I love you dear.” [page 49]

When I Sing

WHEN I sing of flowers and springtime,
My song is blithe and gay,
With a feeling of warmth and sunshine
That comes with the month of May.

When I sing of deepening shadows
And dreary winter days,
My song is touched with sadness
That takes all hope away.

But when I sing of love, dear,
My song rings deep and true,
It comes from the depths of my heart, dear.
For I’m singing it just to you. [page 50]

 

Love Is Like A Crimson Rose

LOVE is like a crimson rose in bud,
Which, poised upon its stem, is warmed to yield
Its blushing petals one by one until
The beauty of its depths is soon revealed.

But shaken by an adverse wind, it breaks
And hangs its tender head upon the stalk,
Till crushed and withering, it falls to lie
A helpless, tattered thing upon the walk.

I should have left it there upon the ground
And let its bleeding petals slowly die,
But now, embedded deep within my heart,
The lingering, longing thought will ever lie. [page 51]

 

To My Mother

SIT close beside me in the old arm-chair
And let the firelight gleam upon your hair,
Caress your glowing cheek and gently fold
Its warmth about you like a cloak of gold.

Then talk in tender tones — your voice to me
Is music, soft and full of sympathy,
As when a cellist tunes his art to bring
A note of rhythm on a muted string.

In silence I shall gaze as though to find
A way to press your image on my mind,
So when in lonely hours you are not here,
I may, in fancy, picture you as near. [page 52]

Over The Hills

OVER the hills on silent wings
The rain comes softly down,
Spreading a veil of silver mist
Over the quiet town.

It wraps about my cottage door
Like a cloak of mystic weave,
Dripping with familiar sound
From the over-brimming eave.

It fills my soul with restlessness,
It stirs old memories,
Echoing a fond farewell
Beneath tall maple trees.

Oh, could I don that cloak of rain
And fly on misty wings,
I’d whisper to your listening heart
The old forgotten things.[page 53]

 

A Golden Leaf Afloat

A GOLDEN leaf afloat
Upon a quiet stream,
Is symbol of a ship
Embarked upon a dream.

It sails uncharted ways,
Its harbour is unknown,
It drifts upon the wave
A mystic wind has blown.

And yet if I should spy
That ship upon my sea,
I’d know the wistful wind
Was wafting you to me.

Then I would call you close,
And from the silent shore,
Together in that ship
We’d sail forevermore. [page 54]

 

Wind In The Wood

WIND in the wild wood
Blow out to sea,
Blow on a white ship
And bring it to me.

My lover is fishing
Far on the bay,
He sailed in a schooner
At breaking of day.

And here in a cottage
Close by the shore,
With hearth-glowing fires
And latch off the door,

I wait for my laddie’s
Returning to-night,
Eagerly scanning
His coming in sight.

So wind in the wild wood
Blow out to sea,
Bring, in the white ship,
My lover to me. [page 55]

 

Roundel

I’M loving you, when in your eyes,
A welcome smiles from depths of blue,
And something in your soul replies,
“I’m loving you.”

Then sunshine shades the shadows through,
The dreary darkness dulls and dies,
And love upleaps to life anew.

Yet in my heart, where vision lies,
Cruel courage keeps the tongue untrue,
And passion, pulsed in pain, denies
I’m loving you. [page 56]

 

Narcissus

NARCISSUS, white as the driven snow
Upon the wind set free,
Star-like, you symbolize the soul
Outspread in purity.

 

I Shall Sing My Songs

I SHALL sing my songs in secret,
Away from the babbling world
Where scorners sit as critics,
Their lips sarcastically curled.

I shall go to a lonely hill-top
Where only the wind will be,
I shall give to the friendly darkness
The rhythm arising in me.

For there in the starry stillness,
The simplest thought will find
A perfect understanding
In a Vast, Invisible Mind. [page 57]

 

Contentment

WHAT if the winter months are long,
What if the winds are cold and strong,
My house is warm, my hearth is bright
With kindled fires to cheer the night.
If I can settle in a nook,
If I can read a friendly book
Where simple souls in modest measure
Are yielding me a secret treasure,
There I’m content though winds are strong
And winter months are cold and long. [page 58]

 

If In My Music

IF in my music I could gain
The gentle rhythm of the rain,
I’d sound the notes in sweet strain.

If I could mould my gayest mirth
To be as sunshine on the earth,
I’d kindle joy of deeper worth.

Then both the music and the smile
Would linger in the heart awhile
And lend to love a greater guile. [page 59]

 

Storm

STORM on the hills,
The cold, white snow
Veils the vast heights
From the valley below.

Enclosed in a cottage,
Chilling warm life,
Fate feeds a heart
On miserable strife.

Storm in a soul,
The state of a mind
Thrusting the rights
Of reason behind.

And though on the hills
The storm wings away,
Stealing as swiftly
As night leaving day,

Yet tumult of passion
Though softened by tears
Remains to remind
Innumerable years.[page 60]

 

Little Brown Bird

LITTLE brown bird
Singing in a tree,
What tempted you to build
Your nest so near to me?

Was it the water
Clear and fresh and cool
And almost over-brimming
The edges of a pool?

Was it the fir-tree
Thick and dark and tall,
Or the flies about the flowers
That grace the garden-wall?

Or was it because
God in his wisdom knew
That sometimes in the shadows
My soul has need of you? [page 61]

 

Retrospect

A DEAR old-fashioned lady —
I can see her still,
So neatly dressed in black,
About the neck a frill
Of snowy white, and round
Her shoulders lay a shawl
Of precious paisley. Near
The window, in the hall,
That overlooks the land,
She’d placed an old armchair,
And from its depths she gazed
Without in constant stare.

I stood in silence, for
Her dim blue eyes I knew
Beheld, not fields well furrowed
As the harvest grew,
Not trim wire fences bordering
On the hard, smooth roads,
Or bleating thoroughbreds
That tumbled by in loads,
But thick, dark forests, tall
And close, and only thin
About the clearing where
They’d put the cabin in; [page 62] 

A winding path that led
Discreetly towards the hill
Where yokes of heavy oxen
Grazed with lazy will;

And she,—a girl again,
Now raising finger-tips
Instinctively to toss
A kiss from youthful lips
To William, labouring near,
His tender eyes aglow
With ardour as he swung
Each tree a severing blow.
And as her heart went on
The pathway where he led,
She saw his courage burn
A flame above his head. [page 63]

 

Fragrance

LIKE some sweet fragrance on the wind
You came to me,	
A breath of beauty from afar
Affinity.

I breathed the glory of the gift,
My heart was gay,
The clouds that dimmed the rising sun
Were swept away.

I looked on life with laughing eyes,
The world was new
And filled with wonders to be seen
And things to do.

Until, at length, as when the wind
Blows sweetness by,
We parted and the light leaves stirred
In wistful sigh.

And I have seen the world again
In sombre hue
That only shades of tender thought
Have broken through. [page 64]

 

Oh Holy Babe

OH Holy Babe, whose wondrous birth
Spread peace and joy upon the earth,
Who, in a cradle roughly wrought,
Received the gifts the Wise Men brought,
Will whispered words of simple prayer
Be carried with a gentle care?

Oh Master of the worldly mind,
True Teacher of a vast mankind,
Whose miracles and passion gave
New life to those you came to save,
Will tidings of a piteous plea
On angel wings be borne to Thee?

O King of Kings, around whose Throne
Triumphant choirs their praise intone,
And cymbals clash, with ceaseless din,
Proclaiming victory over sin,
Will breathing of a wistful sigh
Be echoed in a sound on high? [page 65]

 

Christmas Bells

PEAL loudly, Christmas bells, and rouse
The sleeping world from sinful ways;
Strike to the soul and make the heart
Resound the echo of your praise
Of Him who came on earth to save
And promised life beyond the grave;
Swing to the winds all bitter scorn,
Ring out the truth this happy morn. [page 66]

 

To A Friend

MEN’S minds will manifestly richer be
Because your soul has cleft its earthly chain
Of fear to fight for truth; a force to free
The anguished form of beauty from disdain.
Now sun and stars will burn with brighter gleam
To searching eyes unbound from blinding dark;
The timid touch of gentle rain will seem
More soft upon the cheek; the soaring lark
Will sing a sweeter song in purer air;
The wind will whisper with a wooing sound
To listening ears; white petal nymphs will wear
Small elfin wings to waft them to the ground,
And deeds will gather strength as vision grows
In gazing at the beauty of a rose. [page 67]

 

Summer Night

THE moon is rising through the summer night,
It floods the garden-path with silver beams;
Look, now each nodding flower-head is bright
With dewy gems that glint with tiny gleams;
Beyond the gate, two fluttering maple-trees
Throw graceful shadows on the glossy ground;
With sweetly tempered breath, the evening breeze
Is gently blowing summer incense round.
Hark how from far away is faintly heard
Throughout the hush, a soft ecstatic note,
Which comes enchanted from a drowsy bird
That fills with song its lightly throbbing throat.
Oh, could a night so full of beauty hold
A touch of sadness in its peaceful fold? [page 68]

 

Two Pictures

MORNING…
	Happy little boy
	With sunny morning smile,
	Come over through the garden gate
	And talk with me a while.

Evening…
	Sleepy little boy
	With tousled curly head,
	Close up that fascinating book
	And go upstairs to bed. [page 69]

 

A Musician’s Wish

TO strike a note
And have it ring
Like crystal water
From a spring:

Deep in colour
As the sun,
That floods the West
When day is done;

And true as love
Throughout the years
Of laughter’s joys
And sorrow’s tears.[page 70]

 

Winter-Thaw

SOFTLY through the night an East wind crept
Upon the sleeping winter, blowing round
To loose the captive earth from cruel cold,
And breathe a balmy breath upon the ground.

Then stealthily the drowsy spruces stirred
To slip the snowy burdens from their backs,
And naked trees dropped crystals from their limbs
To eager streamlets in their deepening tracks.

Awakened by the tears of icicles,
The wrinkled winter wrathfully arose,
With bitter winds and snows, he racked the trees
And numbed the shivering earth until it froze. [page 71]

 

A Cradle Song

OH baby, close your drowsy eyes
For night is darkening in the skies,
The silver stars will twinkle soon
And slowly sail beside the moon.

The pretty flowers you found to-day
Have coyly tucked their heads away,
And the little birds that sang for you
Are silent now, the whole night through.

The friendly sun has gone to rest,
It sank within the sheltering West,
And the wind is crooning in a tree.

A cradle song for you and me.
So listen to my lullaby,
In gentle slumber softly lie,
And while you wander in sweet sleep,
Above your bed my watch I’ll keep. [page 72]

 

A Flurry Of Snow-Flakes

A FLURRY of snow-flakes
Came through the air,
Blown by the North wind,
Here and there.

They tossed and tumbled
Up and down,
And did the most amazing things
Without a sound,

Then some of them lit on the edge of a roof
And some on the branch of a tree,
And while I stood there watching them
A few of them fell on me. [page 73]

 

To Sleep

SWEET sleep enfold me in your gentle arms
And rock me like a little child to rest,
For I am very tired and fain would have
My earthly cares depart at your behest.

Lull me with dreams to fill my aching heart
With happiness and if the dawn must bring
But gruesome pain again, then let me stay
Forever in the shelter of your wing. [page 74]

 

Nocturne

AFTER a day of stifling heat,
I sit on a rustic garden seat,
To rest and cool
Myself in night’s refreshing breeze,
Which trembles in the eager trees,
And watch the thunderstorms that lighten
In the Western skies and brighten
Every pool.

Then from a cottage down the lane,
A cello speaks in peaceful strain
Of melody.
If fills my thirst soul like wine
Pressed from the fruit of some mystic vine,
Even as the coming rain will seem
To every shrunken little stream
Or panting tree. [page 75]

 

A Valentine

IT matters little that the chilling rain
Beats wild tattoo upon the window-pane,
Or moaning winds arise with dismal sound
To scatter shivering leaves upon the ground,
If you and I may sit in sweet content
Beside the fire and your loved instrument.

The haunting, soothing melodies you play
Weave us a mystic kingdom far away
From firelit room and noisy rain, where we
May wander down the paths of memory
And linger with our thoughts until it seems
We find the sweet fulfilment of our dreams.

It matters little that the chilling rain
Beats wild tattoo upon the window-pane,
Or moaning winds arise with dismal sound
To scatter shivering leaves upon the ground,
If you and I may sit beside the fire,
Communing with the muse of our desire. [page 76]

 

In The Hayfield

COME with me, we’ll go together
In this pleasant summer weather
To a field where we can play
By a mound of new-mown hay.

There like children we will wander
Up and down or stop to ponder
On the simple joys around,
Stretching ourselves upon the ground

To watch the bees hang sadly over
Fallen heads of scented clover,
While a mottled butterfly
Spreads sails above us in the sky.

Then we’ll hail the winds with laughter
Asking what they’re chasing after,
Or reach our hands without a care
To fling sweet hay high in the air,

Breathing its fragrance which will never
From our sense completely sever,
But will linger ever near
To cheer us through another year.[page 77]

 

Night Rapture

WHEN night comes over the hills to hush
The weary world to rest,
And the bluebird spreads his dainty wings
To seek his airy nest,

I stand alone on the garden path
Among the fragrant flowers,
Unmindful of unfinished work
Or the passing of the hours.

Thinking only of the charm
Of such a summer night,
Watching the moon and stars appear
With ever deepening light.

I listen to the whispering trees
Whose voices rise and fall,
And strain my ears to hear again
The lonely night bird’s call.

Then with rapture comes the thought
How wondrous it would be.
If you were on the garden path
To share it all with me. [page 78]

 

Intertwinement

WHEN sun-kissed morning calls to me
From wind-blown field
Where gay larks sing
While on the wing
And nodding daisies to the bee
Their honey yield.

When moon-lit evening beckons me
From quiet stream
Where silver star
Is mirrored far
And lilies floating peacefully
In splendour gleam.

My heart is filled with thoughts of you
For night and day
Your love and mine
Will intertwine
With beauty ever old and new
Upon the way. [page 79]

 

Fantasy

A HOST of clouds assembled in the sky,
Rolling, tossing, tumbling in their haste
To scatter downy snowflakes through the air
Until the earth beneath was warmly cased
In robes of softest eiderdown. Then the moon
Peeped through a rift and shed her silver light
Upon the scene — a dazzling winterland.
The clouds spun round and round with great delight,
Scurrying here and there until the sun
In slumber, hearing of this vast ado,
Rose slowly up to see it for himself.
He touched the magic sight with rosy hue,
Then climbing higher, bent his piercing rays
To melt the snow and show his deep disdain.
The clouds looked on in anger and despair,
Then fled to other parts to weep in rain. [page 80]

 

Triolet

IF I should wish on every star
That twinkles in the evening sky,
My wish would travel very far
If I should wish on every star;
Yet nothing in the world could bar
My thoughts from going up so high
If I should wish on every star
That twinkles in the evening sky. [page 81]

 

A Sunbeam

A SUNBEAM peeped behind a cloud,
It ventured forth and then it vowed
To see the beauties of the earth
And rouse the world to joy and mirth.

It danced o’er hills, down mountain sides,
It scattered shadows far and wide,
It gave to flowers an added hue
And sparkles made on waters blue.

It pierced the branches of a tree
And fairly scrambled through to see
The features of a face I love,
Then vanished in a cloud above.[page 82]

 

A Fancy

I WAKENED and saw a garden
Of beautiful flowers. Half dreaming
It seemed —
That I walked among those dainty blooms
Breathing their fragrance.

I opened my eyes again
To look —
Not at the lovely garden
But on beyond where wintry snows
Vanquished my dream.

And then I knew —
My garden of beautiful flowers
Was only a coloured picture
Hanging on the wall. [page 83]

 

The Answer

TWO soft brown eyes,
A wistful smile,
Eagerly asking,
Is life worth while?

The answer falters
Upon my lips —
I stoop and kiss
Her finger-tips,

Trusting that love
Would somehow try
To give this maid
The right reply. [page 84]

 

Canadian Spruce Trees In Winter

UPON a hillside brightened by the moon,
I saw a row of spruce that seemed to be
Enchanted black-robed giants bound to earth
Until some mystic sign should set them free.

They stood knee-deep in soft and sparkling snow,
Their high cocked hats and drooping outstretched arms
Bedecked with richest ermine, all agleam
With veils of diamonds to enhance the charm.

I stood spellbound and even as I looked
Expected drums’ alarm to reach my ears,
When all those tethered ghosts would spring to life,
March quickly o’er the hills and disappear. [page 85]

 

Roundel

A DRAGON-FLY, with dusky wings,
In daring dips goes deftly by,
And weighs upon a weed that swings
A dragon-fly.

Then peacefully its pinions lie,
As closely to the weed it clings
And downward bends a bulging eye.

In idle thought on earthly things,
My mind is moved to wonder why
A weed of wavering weakness swings
A dragon-fly.[page 86]

 

Stalactite Caves—Bermuda

WHAT fairy-world is this beneath the ground?
What phantom souls have worked this wonderland?
Look how like trees upon a glistening mound,
The many-coloured jewelled columns stand!
And here an angel’s wing, devoutly spread,
Unfurls a shadow on the lake below;
And there a wistful cherub lifts its head
To hear an over-hanging trumpet blow;
Across the lake, a stately castle-tower
Recalls an age of ancient chivalry,
With ghostly maidens, in a hidden bower,
Awaiting ships that sail a mystic sea.

If tears of earth can make this beauty live,
What splendour then could human sorrow give! [page 87]

 

Lone-Pine Rock

WITH endless rush, the rapid river flows
About a barren rock, wave washed and grey;
A rock so rugged that no verdure grows
Upon its surface, save where sly decay
Has cleft a crevice. There a pine-tree stows
Its roots and rears, in evergreen array,
Soft, sweeping limbs the north wind wildly blows
And bends submissive to its blustering sway.

Yet strangely does this stubborn rock abound
In legend. Still the tongues of Time re-tell
Of rival braves that ran about the base
Of Lone-Pine Rock. To gain a hunting ground
Was rich reward, and to the victor fell
The destined homeland of a dauntless race. [page 88]

 

To A Teacher—M.J.M.

TO find a place in life for doing good,
Yet seeking not a path to bring you fame,
And hoping only for an honest name,
You chose a worthy means of livelihood,
Which led to where you soon were understood
As one whose mind was filled with steadfast aim
To put all cowardly deceit to shame;
A noble teacher who, with hardihood,
Taught careless youth to seek a higher cause,
And ever fought beside them gallantly,
Then wonder not that such example draws
From sons and daughters, whereso’er they be,
But grateful admiration and applause
In honour to your name and memory. [page 89]

 

Campaign Song For Victorian Order Of Nurses

IN and out about the town,
A little car runs up and down
To bear a busy nurse in blue
Wherever there is work to do.

A nurse who comforts in distress
And points the way to happiness,
Her cheerful smile for anxious mother,
Father, sister, little brother,
Lightens every weary heart
And gains a welcome for her art.

Now if the V.O.N. should ask
That you assist her in her task,
I hope a happy day will bring
Your chance to do some little thing.

For she’s a nurse who comforts in distress
And points the way to happiness,
Her cheerful smile for anxious mother,
Father, sister, little brother,
Lightens every weary heart
And gains a welcome for her art. [page 90]

 

The Hermit At Blue Point

THE hermit stood beside his rugged shack
Alone, with but the thud of his great axe
To break the gloomy silence when it split
The tender, gaping stumps of silver birch.

Often he raised his hand to brush aside
The shaggy hair which curled about his face
As if to hide the suffering in those eyes
That lived again the half forgotten days.

A rumour had it that when he was young,
Handsome, gay, and rich, he loved a maid
And wooed her with an ardent heart until
She proved untrue and turned his love to scorn.

He loved and lost and lost not only love
But money, health and all his self respect,
And so this poor demented soul became
The relic of the man he might have been. [page 91]

 

The Sugaring-Off

THE sugar camp stood on the edge of a hill
Surrounded by maple trees
The smoke wound up from its chimney top
As if waving a welcome to me.

Great piles of wood cut ready for use
Stood fresh from the busy axe.
Nearby large buckets filled full of snow
Awaited the golden wax.

Inside the camp was a cloud of steam
Enwrapping a busy figure,
Then out of it all old Pierre came forth
With a bucket of melted sugar.

He spread the wax out on the soft white snow
And handed us paddles of wood
Then he bad us eat to our heart’s content
But not to eat more than we should. [page 92]

 

Resurrection

THE burning depths that yield the light of day
Are dim to Death. His hollow eyes behold
The sun’s deep, dauntless disc of flaming gold
With scorn. Then stumbling on his weary way,
He slowly wanders through the world to lay
His hand upon the life of one grown old,
Or on a yearning youth, with dreams untold,
Whose manhood might an earthly nation sway.

Yet quiet life within a leafless tree
Is freshened into bud and bloom once more,
And darkest night draws back with dusky grace
At dawn — so, veiled in vast Eternity,
The soul shall live, and Death shall bow before
The glorious brightness of the Holy Face. [page 93]

 

The Quest

DOWN the dusty, dreary street
Outside my cottage door,
There came a queer old fashioned man
I’d never seen before.

His hair hung white beneath a cap
His eyes were misty blue,
His coat was torn and dusty shoes
Had worn completely through.

He walked with hesitating step
And leaned upon a cane
To cast a furtive glance about
As though to search again

Among the many passers by
For someone he held dear,
A loved one he’d been looking for
Through many a weary year.

          .     .     .     .     .     .

Hoping to hear a wondrous tale
I hailed him with a call
And bid him enter in to rest
Within my lowly hall.[page 94] 

He came without a word and sat
Beside the open fire,
Munching the food I spread for him
With obvious desire.

          .     .     .     .     .     .

When he had finished his repast
I ventured near to say,
‘You’re a stranger in these parts
What brings you down our way?’

‘I’m travelling round the world,’ he said,
‘Upon a curious quest,
I’m trying to find a faithful friend
Before I go to rest.

I’m looking for an honest friend
With heart that I can trust,
Not one who rises like a flower
To crumble back to dust.

I’ve seen them grow upon my breath
As fragile bubbles do,
To break when the occasion comes
That I would have them true.

I want a friend who like a rock
Is steady and secure,
A jewel precious as the sun
Whose endless age is sure.[page 95] 

And though I’ve been from East to West
By land and sea and air,
I have not found a single one
Who really seems to care.’

          .     .     .     .     .     .

‘It’s strange,’ I said, ‘in all these years
You’ve never found a friend,
Now I have one who goes with me
Wherever I may wend.’

He gazed at me in wonderment
And begged me to proceed,
So I told him of the One I knew
As friend in every need.

He pondered for awhile then said,
‘I’ve heard of Him before,
But only in a ribald way
From men who cursed and swore.

I like this friend of whom you speak,
I feel I know Him too,
I’ve found what I’ve been looking for
All thanks my friend to you.’

He placed his hands upon his breast
And slowly bowed his head,
And when I looked at him again
I saw the man was dead. [page 96]

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