Edwardian and Georgian Canadian Poets
Lyrics from the Hills

LYRICS
FROM
THE HILLS

BY
ARTHUR S. BOURINOT
Author of Laurentian Lyrics; Poems.

JAMES HOPE & SONS, LIMITED
OTTAWA
[unnumbered page]

THIS EDITION LIMITED TO THREE HUNDRED COPIES AND TYPE DISTRIBUTED

Copyright, Canada, 1923
By Arthur S. Bourinot.
[unnumbered page]

CONTENTS

Page
ENCHANTMENT 7
CANADIAN SKI-SONG 9
BEAUTIFUL BREAKS THE MORNING 11
LAURENTIAN LURE 12
MY GARDEN 13
TO SUZETTE 14
MOUNTAIN THOUGHTS 15
THE LAKE AT EVENING 16
WINTER IN THE HILLS 17
AND HILLWARD LIES MY HOME 18
WHITELY COMES THE DAY 19
JUNE IMPRESSIONS 20
THE QUEST 22
THE LAURENTIANS 23
BARGES 25
THE LITTLE INNS OF ENGLAND 26
THE CHURCH BY THE LAKE 27
A GARGOYLE 30
GENESIS 32
DREAMS 33
OLD AGE 33
WHEN YOU ARE OLD 34
NATURE AND RELIGION 35
PILGRIMS 37
THE CHILDREN CRY AND CANNOT UNDERSTAND 39

[page 3]

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

Several of these poems have been previously published in The Canadian Bookman, The Veteran, The Ottawa Citizen, and The Montreal Star

A.S.B.

Rockcliffe, Ottawa,
1923.
[unnumbered page]

TO
THE MEMORY
OF
MY FATHER
[unnumbered page]

ENCHANTMENT

GLORY of sunrise and sunset, 
Glory of night and the dawn, 
Glorious flood of the moonlight
Washing with silver the lawn, 
These have bound me and chained me,
Held my heart in the hills
These will envelop, surround me,
Hold my heart when it stills. 

Wonder of birches at twilight,
Wonder of lights that enmesh,
Wondrous cooleth of the waters, 
Caressing the swimmer’s flesh,
These have conquered me, won me, 
Held me heart all the years,
To these I will go on departure
Burying bodily fears.

Beauty of light on the waters,
Beauty of the hills in their strength,
Beauty of wind on the corn-fields
Rippling length on length on length, 
These are the things I cleave to,
These will endure to the end;
Beauty, the quest of the ages, 
Waits where the lost roads wend. [page 7]

Plash and dip of my paddle,
Cadenced, the hills above,
Glory of stars at evening
Glory of you, O my love, 
You have conquered me, won me,
Held my heart all the years, 
Together we’ll walk till the ending
Buries our bodily fears. [page 8]

CANADIAN SKI SONG

THE hills lie white and silent sleeping in the snow
The trail lies tracked before us, tramped by other skis,
The sky is blue above us, urging us to go
And glide the mantled meadows, breast the upland breeze.

The Sumac comes glow crimson, red against the white, 
A Blue-Jay blue and brilliant screams across the trail,
The snow beneath us crunches, faster grows our flight, 
As swiftly o’er the waters glide the ships full-sail.

The energy of freedom fills the veins with fire, 
The heart beats fast untrammelled, free as clouds that race
We climb and glide the uplands, found the heart’s desire,
The rush of air around us, the wind against the face. [page 9]

The iron hills surround us, solemn in their sleep, 
The susurrus of swishing skis fill the atmosphere,
As rhythmically gliding, swift where slopes are steep
We rush the narrow speed way, dropping sudden, sheer. 

The ancient and eternal lure of snow and hill, 
Now calls and ever will call, stir our lethargy, 
Until we glide the ski-trail free of heart and will,
Free of the earth’s great uplands, free as the winds are free. [page 10]

BEAUTIFUL BREAKS THE MORNING

BEAUTIFUL breaks the morning
Above the hills afar,
Beautiful breaks the morning
And dies the last lone star. 

Peacefully brood the waters
And sleeps the plaid lake 
Peacefully brood the waters
Until the winds awake.

Diaphanous pink of mushroom
Spreads the sky before, 
Diaphanous pink of mushroom
The arras of dawn’s door. 

Beautiful bend the birches 
Towards their mirrored white,
Beautiful bend the birches
White as stars at night. 

Radiant is the beauty
That dwelleth with the dawn,
Radiant as the beauty
Of ancient Tyre, Sidon. [page 11]

LAURENTIAN LURE

ALL along the shadowed lanes the Lilacs are in bloom
Up among the orchard trees, the birds are singing street, 
All the earth has wakened up, roused from winter’s gloom,
O, the feel of the homeland soil once more beneath my feet.

White, the roads are leading on, beckoning to the hills,
Lying far and shadowless, iron-like and low, 
All their beauty stirring me while their wonder fills
My heart with the old desire again and urges me to go. [page 12]

MY GARDEN

THE Tulip torches burst to flame 
Flaunted and flared great cup of fire, 
To light the ways the summer came,
But now they burn their funeral pyre.

The purple lilac by the gate
Bends, burdened with its heavy bloom; 
The roses in the garden wait
The richer opulence of June.

And all is beauty here, and rest, 
Contentment, quiet, with work to do, 
'T’is certain God my garden blessed, 
And walked herein before the dew. [page 13]

TO SUZETTE

MY little daughter’s eyes are blue 
And large and round and look at you
In baby wonderment, surmise
As though they saw the world in you 
And looked beyond and through and through 
Gazing with saucer-like surprise
At such big beings with old eyes.
I think God took the blue, blue skies
To make so blue my baby’s eyes.

Sometimes they sparkled with delight,
And twinkle like twin stars at night
For life is but the rattle’s ring
And joy a plaything placed in sight
To sparkle in the summer light,
And parents but the ones who bring
Necessities and sometimes sing.
I think God took a blue-bird’s wing
Such blue into her eyes to bring. [page 14]

MOUNTAIN THOUGHTS

I CLIMBED the high Herculean shouldered hill
That overlooks the lake and east and south
Saw myriads of blue mountains by Time’s mill
Turned smooth, stretched miles to the horizon’s mouth, 
And fitfully from the valley came the high
Crescendo shrieking of a saw swift-turned
While further west, where the settlements lie
White rose the smoke from smouldering stumps slow burned. 

And dreaming on the summit round me pressed
Visions of those old Spaniards whose fierce eyes 
Cast on Granada’s battlemented crest
Saw but the guerdon of a high emprise
Heard in the great Alhambra Moorish cries
And Christ to infidels made manifest. [page 15]

THE LAKE AT EVENING

THE lake lies calm and beautiful at eve, 
The hills arise and cover up the sun;
Along the shores the shadows slowly wreathe 
Obscuring distant islands one by one, 
Four crows, their homeward journey lazily make
Winging where pines stand sentinel on high; 
Wraith of the hills the new moon scans the lake 
And a star drops down the deep abyss of sky. 

My love and I beneath the darting light
Of dancing constellations drift and dream, 
And all the wonders of the August night
So stir imagination we do seem 
To know the Master-mind that making, fills
With everlasting Beauty all the hills. [page 16]

WINTER IN THE HILLS

THE hills lie sleeping in the winter snow
Hunching their sun-scared backs beneath the white, 
In unconcerned slumber till their slow
Lethargic stirring in the April light. 

The river turns in interrupted rills
Forced from the earth’s great hear in sluggish beat, 
An artery of the hibernating hills
And quietude unutterable complete. [page 17]

AND HILLWARD LIES MY HOME

THERE’S a road that leads you onward,
There’s the road that lures to roam, 
But the road I love leads homeward, 
And hillward lies my home. 

The great ships set sail seaward, 
The small ships breast the foam, 
But the ship I love sweep home-bound 
With sails that wing me home.

There’s a heart that beats t journey,
There’s the heart that beats to roam, 
But the heart I love beats hearthward
And hillward lies my home.

The north star glistens coldly,
On night’s gigantic dome,
But the star of love glows warmly
Above the hills of home.

The west wind is a pilgrim
The south wind sings depart,
But the wind I love blows hillward
And brings me to thy heart. [page 18]

WHITELY COMES THE DAY

BLACKNESS changes grey
Grayness silver white, 
Whitely comes the day, 
Goes the passing night;
Birds in clamorous cry, 
Glorious comes the sun,
A wagon rattles by, 
Now the day’s begun. [page 19]

JUNE IMPRESSIONS

GOLDEN in the meadows, gold wild mustard glows;
Floored deep blue with corn flowers, lies the distant field, 
Soldier Black-bird flying low, scarlet plumage shows, 
While on high the blazing sun, burns a blazoned shield.

Ripened on the upland slope strawberries are red
Richest fruit of summer found at journey’s end, 
Cooling waters well nearby, cool from caverned bed,
Through the clumps of fragrant mint to the meadows wend. 

Pitched against the old snake fence slants a Gypsy’s tent, 
Black with smoke of camp-fires, travelled far and torn
Swarthy visage children romp, kerchiefed colours blent, 
Near many tethered horses, shaggy, tired and worn. [page 20]

Pillowed on the placid lakes sleep white mists a dawn
Rising with the sun rise, slowly creep away, 
White and slender birches watch the waters wan,
Seeing their reflections fade with the fading day. [page 21]

THE QUEST

THE sun arose with face ablaze
And tipped the goblet of the earth, 
Drinking deep the valley’s haze
Silencing the dew drop’s mirth.

The sun sank low with thirsting light,
Ablaze with beauty of desire,
Leaving earth in darkest night,
Travelling with seeking fire. [page 22]

THE LAURENTIANS

THE first snow fell on the hills last night
And the morning broke, slow and white in the east,
Pallid and gray, misting a sumac light
That grew and grew as the speed increased
Of the rising sun as it rolled from sleep
In the far flung antipodes of space, 
And rushed with a flushed exultant leap
Into the breadth of heavens white embrace.

The primal hills lay sleeping in the snow,
Not stirred to greet the glory of the sun, 
The immemorial hills that through the long, slow,
Lapse of innumerable years have won
The right to silence, stirred not from their rest, 
But crouched gigantic at the feet of dawn
And the snow showed white as a woman’s breast, 
And day had come triumphant, night was gone. [page 23]

The hills remain immutable midst the years,
And men of varying races come and go;
The generations live, holding the fears
Of humanity and the procreant flow 
Of life proceeds, and high above it all
Tower the high hills, strong and permanent,
Until the sun and final heavens fall
And God’s hand hurls the firmament. 

And yet, O hills, I think you understand
The depth and height of love, for in your heart, 
Lies the eternal patience which the hand
Of your Creator will someday impart
To us, waiting the time of Beauty’s birth
And resurrection in our native land,
When comes the rise of wisdom on the earth 
O then, high hills, we’ll know you understand. [page 24]

BARGES

BARGES of sand on the old canal 
   Long tillers at the stern, driftly slow down
    To the heart of the town
Past many a long and winding turn 
To dock in the heart of the town. 

Cargoes as gold as the sandy slopes, 
Piled high from stern to bow, 
    Float leisurely
    To the side of the quay, 
Where many a boat and barge and scow 
Ride fastened with great ropes. 

Heavily laden, low at the line, 
The bargee steers them by, 
   Weathered and town 
    With the wind’s harsh scorn,
Buffets of rain from a burdened sky,
Have scarred and stained the shine.

Built in the past the old canal, 
They’ve seen quaint By Town grow, 
   From little town
   To wide renown 
Though many a year that passed as slow
As they crawl along to the town. [page 25]

THE LITTLE INNS OF ENGLAND

THE roads and lanes of England 
Are linked by little inns
To welcome you at evening 
And when the day begins. 

The lanes are lines with hedge-rows
And Lilac scents the air, 
While later on the roses
Will flaunt their crimson flare.

So when the roads are dusty
And travellers come foot-sore,
They’ll find at every cross-road 
The welcoming inn-door.

The White Fox, Black Swan, Willow, 
The Mermaid, Maypole, Trout,
Will serve you silver tankards
Of mellow ale or stout.

Once more the Inns of England
With worn and polished floors
Will welcome weary strangers
And open wide their doors. [page 26]

THE CHRUCH BY THE LAKE

HERE on the shores of the limitless lake
Set on the point where the inlet enters
Stands the small wooden church of the summer
Fashioned from the timber tough and unfinished
Hugely hewn from the neighbouring forest;
In front, the lake resounds upon the shore, 
Shaded by the boughs of the giant limbed pines
Where the choral winds, murmuring sing
The Lord’s great Litanies, chanting them slowly; 
The populace of poplar leaves patter
Beside the rood and when the twilight comes
The Loon’s loud laughter lilts across the lake. 

Inside, great, unbarked timbers vault the roof, 
Simplicity in every line and edge, 
And a simple altar looks toward the door
On which some wild flowers bow their heads in prayer [page 27]
And beauty here the sun of simple things, 
Nothing of note, of pomp or ceremony, 
Grandeur of gold or marble cold and and smooth
Chiseled in effigy to sepulchre the dead
But all is plain and the windows see
The beauty of the everlasting hills.

O, beauty, thou dost dwell in common things,
In the passing shower and the thunder-storm 
The rose of a wind lifted lily pad 
And where God’s sunsets flare above the hills.—
Man seeks thee in the cities and the marts
Passes thee by where thou dost dwell 
In the rainbows fringe and the mushroom’s gill
In the falling star and laughter of a child, 
Too simple for the eyes so used to seek 
The blatant and the raucous and the crude. 

You seekers after beauty, seek no more,
But open your eyes to the consummation
God has wrought around you; you will find [page 28]
True beauty lost in the rut, the common round,
The daily task, the sum of things about you
And you will search no more and every dawn
Will fill your treasury rich with visions 
And every evening contemplation’s quiet
Will calm your souls with reminiscent rest. 

Here in this little church I worshipped
And peace descended on me like the cloak 
Of the clouds on the hills, the mist on the lake,
And God revealed true beauty, how she dwells
Where none think now to seek her, how she lives
And many think her dead, and how she gives
As guerdon gifts of sacramental things, 
The serenity of pensive meditation,
The sanctuary dreamy solitude
And the unutterable content of quiet days. [page 29]

A GARGOYLE

OLD, leering gargoyle looking down, 
Perched, leaning out from Notre Dame, 
When Paris was a little town
You grinned and leered and looked the same.

Half man, half daemon, wrought in stone,
Some worker dreamed you long ago, 
And set you leering there alone
To watch the world of men below. 

A monk who thought the air was full
Of daemons, chimaeras and gnomes
Crowned your head with horns of a bull
To fright your kindred from men’s homes.

And we can fancy how he worked
With cunning hand your fiendish face, 
While on eye twinkled or there lurked
A smile, the day you took your place.

And that was centuries ago:
Your maker monk sleeps well no doubt
And you have watched great Paris grow
Beyond her gates the walls without. [page 30]

You thrust your tongue out at the world, 
Clutching the parapet, the while
Your wings of stone forever furled,
Iconoclastically you smile.

Mew generations come, depart, 
And progress builds your city great,
But you leer down at Louvre and mart
And we must wonder what you wait. [page 31]

GENESIS

OUT of the thoughts of the present, 
Out of the dreams of the past, 
Shaped by the omnipresent
Our future deeds are cast.

Spun in a woof of the mystic, 
Spanned by the light of the stars, 
Hurled form the parent, plastic, 
Into the mould that marrs.

Out of the acts of the presents, 
Out of the deeds of the past, 
Shaped by the omnipresent
Our future deeds are cast. [page 32]

DREAMS

VISIONS of unuttered thought, 
Burdened with fears of falling, 
Breaking with fetters that bound them
Back with ancestral man, 
Pounding into the present
With fugitive feet
In the brain of man.

OLD AGE

AN apple hanging
On the end of the bough
Shrivelled and crinkled and wrinkled
Dried with the suns of the long swooning summer
Ready to fall with the touch
Of the cold wind of death 
From the end of the bough. [page 33]

WHEN YOU ARE OLD
(After the French of Pierre de Ronsard)

WHEN you are old and comes the evening time
Spinning by candle light, the fire before, 
Marveling, you’ll say, droning low my rhyme, 
Once Ronsard sang the loveliness I wore: 
Your only auditor a sleepy girl
Drowsy from work and huddled, half asleep, 
At my name’s sound she’ll never stir, uncurl; 
Chanting thy praises immortality and deep. 

Nothing but dust I’ll beneath earth’s breast
Myrtles will shadow the place of my rest;
And old crone crouched at the hearth you will then
Regret my love and your too high disdain; 
Take heed, be wise, the years are on the wane, 
Life’s roses will not bloom for you agen. [page 34]

NATURE AND RELIGION

FROM out the azure, ample deeps 
Rose Aphrodite fair, 
With languorous lips where laughter sleeps
And argent bosom bare.

Atop the great Olympian hill
Jove ruled with iron rod
Telling the thunder to be still, 
Empyrean swaying god. 

Inscrutable the Sphynx still stands
With enigmatic face:
Bleaching around her burn the sands
Rude remnants of a race. 

The temples white where rhythm rang
Lie mute and desolate, 
Only the source from which they sprang
Remains inviolate.

Great Islam’s prophet trod the vast
Immeasurable space, 
Where ponderous winds from heaven passed
With slow prophetic pace. [page 35]

And One Great Spirit left the world
Loving the lonely hill, 
Where wisdom silently unfurled
The universal will. 

O, from the boundlessness of space
The sunlight, wind and stream, 
Man’s energy will n’er efface
The wonder and the gleam.

For o’er the mountains, meadows wild, 
Broods the eternal mind, 
Imparting impulse undefiled
Until the seekers find. [page 36]

PILGRIMS.

“Nothing is left but the phantoms, the lifeless shadows of what has been.”

WM. HAZLETT.

O whence are come the pilgrims sad
With faces pale and weary!
O whence are come the pilgrims clad
In garments dull and dreary?

They come from lands of youthful dreams
O where they hastened madly;
The gaiest garment now me’seems
Would clothe a beggar sadly.

The dust of years is on the head,
Their feet are dragging slowly, 
They move as apparitions, dead, 
Or cringing creatures lowly.

The vision from their eyes has gone, 
They journey as unseeing,
They travel on from dusk to dawn
And know not whither fleeing. [page 37]

They know not where the road will wend 
Or when the journey’s ending : 
They look with longing to the end 
These pilgrims grimly bending.

O whither wend these pilgrims grim
With faces pale and weary?
They wander till the future dim
Will recreate life dreary. [page 38]

THE CHILDREN CRY AND CANNOT UNDERSTAND

THE great drought swept the Russian land
Sucking the moisture from the veins of earth
And breathing heat with scorching, parching breath
Cindered the burgeoning seeds before they burst. 
There fell no rain, no dew dampened the fields
And overhead the unpitying sun 
Blazed with omnipotent fire and heat
And the earth was barren, powdered white with dust.
The small streams narrowed and disappeared
And the great rivers moved in sluggish flow, 
The broad lakes shrank to miasmatic swamps
The land was desolate and no rain fell.

* * *

Now famine stalks in the wake of drought 
Hunger comes with its griping, gnawing pain, [page 39]
And children run to their mothers crying
For food, and whimpering, cannot understand.
Mothers in anguish starve themselves to death
That the young may live and the race survive
But the children cry and cannot understand.

* * *

And death follows fast in famine’s wake,
The slain are numbered in millions, graves
Are full and the streets are lined with the bodies.
Great wagons lumber through the city streets
In slow, monotonous, terrible march;
Criers moan past the homes, “Bring out your dead.”
“Bring out your dead” and the wagons are filled
Lumbering on to the yawning grave pits—
But the children cry and cannot understand
And life on earth is terrible desolation. [page 40]

[2 blank pages]

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

This site is protected by Comment SPAM Wiper.