Edwardian and Georgian Canadian Poets
Spun Lace
28th Jun 2016Posted in: Edwardian and Georgian Canadian Poets 0

SPUN LACE
by Laura Bedell




Published at Toronto, 1933
by
THE WRITERS’ STUDIO
[unnumbered page]

To all that gave my mind its wings,
To raise my soul to higher things —
To love that soars to reach a star,
To beauty near, and beauty far
That made my earth life, good and fine,
I dedicate this book of mine.

[handwritten: Laura Bedell] [page 3]

CONTENTS

Spun Lace 7
The Law of Beauty 8
I Only Ask 11
Life 12
Love 13
Spring 14
Between the Hours 15
At Last 17
Harvest 18
Remembering 20
Dawn 21
[page 5]
Unto the End 22
Just 25
A Falling Star 26
Weaving 27
A Little Wind 28
Day 30
[page 6]

Spun Lace

Dreams, frail as spider’s silver lace,
     Are mine this eve;
Swift as a shuttle to its place,
     Thoughts weave and weave.

The filmy lace that veils the rose,
     A touch will break;
And thought disturbed, a dreamer knows,
     May no more wake.

We sense behind the spider’s lace
     The master art
That fashioned lovely, veiled flower face,
     And dream-veiled heart.

Our dreams are sweet: e’en though they break
     They had their place;
For greater dreams rise from the ache,
     And added grace. [page 7]

The Law of Beauty

The trees draw closer at the eventide,
Night, like a bird, swoops down with wings spread wide,
And in their purple folds the stars abide.

Across the world the incense of a rose
Rises and falls with every wind that blows,
And who shall tell us whither either goes?

A petal thrown upon the flowing stream —
So rudely taken from her flower dream
Someday may more than rose or rosebud mean.

The trees draw closer at the eventide,
The night sweeps down where they stand side by side,
And little winds catch secrets they would hide. [page 8]

God meant the winds these secret things to hear,
To broadcast over earthland far and near
Where sea shells wait and lily bells give ear.

Across the world the incense of a rose
Rises and falls with every wind that blows,
And who shall tell us whither either goes?

But onward, upward, outward to the end
Each seeming trivial thing its way must wend
Through earth’s reverberant music to ascend

We know not whence, nor whither, nor the why;
We only sense through beauty God is nigh,
And scatters gifts for every seeing eye. [page 9]

The rose whose petals whither in the rain
May never be a perfect rose again,
Yet something sweeter blossom for her pain.

But if the rose could live and breathe and pass
As withered beauty through the greening grass,
What hope would lesser beauty have? Alas! [page 10]

I Only Ask —

I only ask —
Laughter on my lips, O Lord,
That none may ever know
Of sorrow that has clutched my heart
And will not let me go.

Music on my tongue, O Lord,
That those who hear the song,
May comfort take a little while
And find the way less long.

Love within my soul, O Lord —
And all Life’s ugly scars,
I’ll wear as proudly as night wears
Her lovely, shining stars. [page 11]

Life

O Life so cruel, yet so sweet,
I am your lover still,
And I will wave reluctant hand
From the last stone capped hill.

O Life, tho’ hard — to you I Cling
For I have loved you well —
Your thorny paths, your petalled ways,
Your Heaven, or your hell. [page 12]

Love

We broke a loaf,
     We shared the feast;
For food we cared not
     In the least.
We drank from out
     A crystal bowl,
The while each heart
     Unveiled a soul;
And in the interval
     By chance
We wove into our lives
     Romance.
In splendid silences
     We wove
That consecrated thing
      Called love. [page 13]

Spring

I saw a poem
     On the tip of a leaf,
It grew on a tree
     High beyond belief.

The loaf was too high
     To reach by hand,
And the poem too deep
     To understand.

But a little bird
     Flew to that tree,
And sang the poem
     Immediately.

The leaf, the poem,
     And the song I heard
From the deeps of earth,
     Through the song of a bird

Is the passion of earth
     That in spring o’erflows
In the budding trees,
     And the heart of a rose. [page 14]

Between the Hours

Across the space
     That us divides,
Between the hours
      Where love abides,
My wished fly,
     And flying find
The restless, wireless
     Of your mind.

Falter your steps
     In forest glade,
Not weariness
     By labor made,
But just a sound
     Your soul has caught
Quivering thro’ space,
     A mother’s thought.

A mother’s thought,
      A whispered prayer,
Flung to the winds
     Has reached you there —
You falter, listen,
     Pause awhile,
Then in your eyes
     There dawns a smile. [page 15]

Within the forest
     Scare a sound
Stirs leaf above,
     Or fern-clad ground,
Yet thro’ the silence
     Clear and true,
A mother’s thought
     Went straight to you.

Across the space
     That us divides,
Between the hours
     Where love abides,
My wishes fly,
     And flying find
The restless, wireless
     Of your mind. [page 16]

At Last

Whether the way be short,
Whether the way be long,
It matters not —
It leads to evensong.

Whether my heart shall sing,
Whether my heart shall bleed,
My soul will find at last
Its utmost need. [page 17]

Harvest

The stars and the sun and the harvest,
The tree, the shrub, and the vine,
Are gifts from God’s mighty vineyard —
The oil and the wine.

The rose, the thorn, and the thistle,
Are jewels of marvelous worth,
And wild, wayward things of the forest
That replenish the earth.

The wheat shines gold in the autumn,
The wine in the chalice is red,
The earth overflows with its honey
Though summer be dead.

Yet we hold in our hands but a moment
The jewels that glitter and shine,
And the gold we hoard for a century,
Goes back to the mine. [page 18]

We work, we toil, and we suffer,
We grovel awhile in the dust,
Receiving from out of earth’s coffers
The wage that is just.

For the things God made everlasting
Are won by unlimited toil,
And those who dig deepest will gather
The wine and the oil

The gold of the stars in the heavens
Ceases not far a moment to shine,
So unceasing we work if we garner
The oil and the wine. [page 19]

Remembering

The words you said,
The vows we took,
A sacred pledge
By rite and book,
You placed upon my hand
                    A ring,
And now, I am
                    Remembering.

The years have fled,
I wonder now,
If you recall 
Each sacred vow?
Young love was such
                    A holy thing ——
And now, I am
                    Remembering. [page 20]

Dawn

Shivering I stood and watched the dawn —
The cold gray dawn’s evolving might,
I saw her bend and kiss the sea
And changes its gloom to sparkling light.

My heart grew warm — and then I knew
By crimson writings on the sky,
The lips that silvered all the sea,
Caressed me, too, in passing by. [page 21]

Unto The End

Fling wide my casement! Nail the shutters back!
There’s something in the out-of-doors I lack.
My heart grows lighter when it feels the breeze
Come kissing me that first had kissed the trees,
Its breath still freighted with the scent of seas,
And thoughts come flooding back into my brain—
Dear, happy thoughts, yet some are tinged with pain.

Oh, keep my casement open all day long!
Let in the robin’s intermittent song!
Let in the gold that gilds the edge of day!
And in the evening when the crickets play,
I’ll watch the shadows shift from pearl to grey —
And on from grey to purple till at last
Night fold them all in loving darkness fast. [page 22]

Oh, keep my casement open! Close it not!
And to the open portal wheel my cot.
Let in the cool moist air of coming night
And while I watch the heaven’s changing light,
The splendid stars will grow a brilliant sight
And shadows dipped in gold will fill my room
When from the hills up rides the laggard moon.

Oh, keep my casement open1 Let me feel
The west wind touch my brow with must appeal;
And all the fragrance of the flaming flowers,
Lord, concentrate for me in these last hours;
And let me breathe with more than human powers!
I love them all so dearly, I would take
The memory into heaven for beauty’s sake. [page 23]

Oh, keep my casement open — open wide!
Let in the holy hush of eventide,
The quiet sound of waves upon the shore,
The little earth-bound voices I adore:
I need them all, I need them more and more.
The end draws nearer — can it really be
A spirit heaven could dearer seem to me>

Oh, keep my casement open to the end!
The open space has ever been my friend.
Now very soon my wearied eyes must close,
My body wither as the fading rose
When my last breath upon the night wind goes,
And like a shadow fleeing into dawn,
Lights as the air my soul will wander on. [page 24]

Just

Just a little knowing
     Every day,
Of the beauty growing
     On life’s way.

Just a little loving,
     Give and take,
Bearing joy or sorrow
     For His Sake.

Just a little giving,
     Heart and soul,
Till we make the living,
     Worth the goal.

Just a quiet ending
     Into dusk,
Knowing all His sending
     We may trust.

Just a little sleeping,
     Or for long —
Be His last gift silence
     Or a song. [page 25]

A Falling Star

A gate in heaven
     Was left ajar,
And toward the earth
     Fell a golden star.
I saw it fall —
     And so did you,
But where it went
     We never knew.
We only thought
     It might
Have fallen downward
     Thro’ the night,
Spilling its gold
     So silently,
That only God
     Himself may see,
But someone
     When the night is gone
May weave the star-dust
     Into song. [page 26]

Weaving

One more sunkist strand, Athena,
     For my baby’s golden hair,
I would weave a pattern, lovely
     As a Venus form is fair.

Let me dip my brush in deeper 
     Where the purple shadow lies,
I would have a softer violet
     For the blue of baby eyes.

Softly moulded little body,
     Rosebud tipped each lovely breast,
Undulating hills of fairness
     End where little pink toes rest.

Wait! Oh, wait! ye gods of beauty,
     Leave me not in my despair!
Help me weave a heart for baby
     Perfect as her form is fair. [page 27]

A Little Wind

A little wind
Fresh from the sea —
Singing it came
All blithe and free;
Across the channel
Swift it came —
A little wind
Without a name.

A little wind
Blew out from France,
Freighted with fragrance
And old romance;
Swiftly it flew
To a garden close
Where the lupins shadow
The pale primrose. [page 28]

A little wind
In sunkist hours,
Strayed in a garden
Of English flowers:
And every flower
In the gardens knew
The wind’s sweet whistle,
And fragrance too.

A little wind —
An hour’s free-lance,
When Aeolus beckoned
Returned to France;
But in the garden
Beside the sea,
Not planted by hands,
Is a Fleur-de-lis. [page 29]

Day

This radiant thing that men call day,
Your rendezvous no power can stay
          With coming night.
I cannot touch you with my hands,
My soul it is that understands
          And loves your light. [page 30]
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