Edwardian and Georgian Canadian Poets
Christmas Again
29th Jun 2016Posted in: Edwardian and Georgian Canadian Poets 0

“CHRISTMAS AGAIN”
AND OTHER POEMS
MOLLY BEVAN

FOREWORD

“Turn backward, oh time, in thy fight,
And make me a child again, just for tonight.”

The reason why we loved childhood days was this: Our little lives were filled with the constant unravelling of new thoughts and new ideas. A new world was discovered every day. We arose in the morning to go to school for the first time, to have a party for the first time, to go to the first dance, the first opera, the first journey, the first voyage. The world was new to us and we loved it.

Looking back we imagine that we were never so happy as when we were children, yet it is a thought as old as the hills that our tomorrows are far more important to us than our yesterdays, and that our todays ought to give us just as keen a delight, just as great a sense of happiness and well-being as the days of our childhood.

The secret of a happy life is to look upon each day as a day of pleasant surprises and new experience—to take a cheerful interest in our work and in that particular portion of the world in which we live.

The spirit in which we face our work is especially important because it makes the whole difference between the drudgery of labor and the joy of achievement. To some people everything within office hours is regarded as just one confounded thing after another. To others, every task that comes to them, every difficulty, little or big, with which they are confronted is an opportunity for achievement. The one kind is unhappy at work, the other finds joy in doing things.

The personnel in big corporations like ours has been divided like ours has been divided into three kinds:

First — The man (or woman) who is a Help. He takes a keen interest in the whole concern. He is glad to see the business of the Company extending. He is proud when he hears the Bell Telephone Company praised. He really feels that he is part of the firm. Every now and then he suggests some improvement. He tries to help. When he is given a job to do he does not enlarge on the difficulty or “impossibility” of it. he just sets to work and does it. He is the kind who is qualifying for a better job.

Second – The man is is a Habit. He is a good worker, industrious, but not adaptable. He hates to be shifted from one job to another. He does one thing well, but his work is a habit. He is nailed to routine, and see in anything outside that routine only a nuisance and not an opportunity.

Third – The man who is a Hindrance. He dislikes his job. He does not want to work, and he almost feels a grievance against the company for giving him a chance to earn money and make a success of life. He is strong on objecting, great on refusing. He is against every change and improvement. He starts suspicion. He hinders. [unnumbered page]

Has the classification of workers ever struck you in this light. If so, in what classification Would you put yourself?

For my part I am glad to think that the majority of our personnel can be put into the first-named class.

We are, on the whole, a very happy business family – loyal to our work and loyal to our organization,. The fact that we take a real family interest in each other and in the organization to which we belong is abundantly reflected in our family journal, The Blue Bell Magazine.

One of the features of that magazine has been a series of delightful poems by Miss Mollie Bevan, who is a member of our staff at Hamilton. It has occurred to me that it would be a good idea, and one marking the pride we all feel at our magazine being the means of bringing to light such talent for literary expression, if these poems were compiled into a little book. I have done this in the present volume, and in sending a copy to you, I extend my best wishes for a Merry Christmas and a Happy new Year both in your work and at your play.

PAUL A. MCFARLANE [unnumbered page]

[blank page]

CHRISTMAS AGAIN

Christmas again!
And far and near,
The happy chimes are ringing clear;
Christmas again!
And the snow lies deep
Over the fields where the flowers sleep.

Christmas again!
And the cheerful sight
Of mistletoe, evergreen, holly bright;
Christmas again!
And the firelight glow
Shining on faces I love and know.

Christmas again!
And through the years,
The Angels’ song rings in our ears;
Christmas again!
And the night is still
The bells are chiming, “Peace and Good Will.” [unnumbered page]

CHRISTMAS, 1923

It is not strange,
That, in a world so turbulent as ours,
Blown by so many sweeping winds of change,
Bowed by the dictates of so many powers,
Seeking new paths, where none were meant to be,
Lauding new faiths with eyes too blind to see;
It is not strange, I ask, that we
Amid all this should still not cease to keep
The age-old sacred festival of One
Who in a lowly manger lay asleep?

Surely this joyous day
Brings back some happiness of olden times,
Filling the heart in some mysterious way
With peace; again the music of the carolling chimes
Floats, echoing, in the crystal air,
As though each merry peal could banish care;
Surely, I say again, this must bear
The same sweet balm for all our modern ills,
As, once of old, it bore to those who watched
Their huddled flocks upon the eastern hills. [unnumbered page]

THE SPIRIT OF SERVICE

Be thou, in all things, honorable and true
Having some noble aim to strive unto,
All self-forgetting in the daily task,
Giving to others whatso’er they ask
Of help, of sympathy, upon the road of life,
With all its trials, all its ceaseless strife,
Its joy and laughter, its most bitter pain,
It love and hatred, and its loss and gain;
Believing he who serves his fellow-man,
Through all his days, in every way he can,
Shall profit in the end an hundred fold,
Though not in worldly wealth of hoarded gold,
Recall the lesson of an early day:
“Do unto others as you would that they
Should do to you” – and let that creed
Thy guidance be in every though and deed. [unnumbered page]

WEAVERS OF SPEECH

Arachne, the weaver, Grecian maid of old,
Toiled from dawn till eventide before her 
magic frame,
Wove a thousand pictures, silver threads 
and gold,
Strove to put the goddesses every one to shame.
Then the great Minerva, angered at her boasting,
Angered that a human should gain the power of gods,
Cast a spell upon her, saying, “Now, my fair one,
Thou shalt weave thy wondrous web forever and for aye!”
Lo! Arachne dwindled, and Minerva watching,
Saw a tiny spider hurrying away.

We no longer picture the gallant deeds of man,
Weaving beauteous tapestries with hands that never tire,
We have found the greatest art since the world began,
We can weave a nation’s speech on the tiny lines of wire.
Swift our flying fingers guide the myriad word threads,
Guide the might messages that pass from day to day.
Could Arachne watch us surely she would marvel,
Wonder that from sea to sea no strand’s beyond our Reach;
Smile to watch us plying an art the ancients taught,
Thrill to hear men call us “the Weavers of their Speech.” [unnumbered page]

SAINT VALENTINE

How many hundred years have rolled away
Since Valentine, a priest of ancient Rome,
Tended the garden of his simple home,
And, smiling, watched the children at their play;
Each trouble heart, each little care, he understood,
And people called him, “Valentine the Good.”

So passed his life in helpfulness and love,
Until one morning in the fountain square,
The children missed his smile, his cheerful air,
And, questioning, were told, “He dwells above;”
	Lo! All the city mourned the good Divine,
	And people said, “Let him be called ‘Saint’ Valentine.”

So many hundred years, and yet his fame,
Has lived in ancient customs to this day,
Fond messages and gifts of blossoms gay
All given in memory of his golden name;
	Who could have told that simple heart of thine
	Would so much love bequeath, Saint Valentine! [unnumbered page]

ST. PATRICK’S DAY

Quaint are the legends that descend to us,
Full of the deeds of that brave man of old,
Who, sent a slave to Erin’s heathen shore,
Did love her people’s welfare even more
Than his own life;
And, when his toil was done, his freedom gained,
In answer to a call divine,
Obedient, remained
To teach the Christian faith to pagan hearts.
His mission prospered – me throughout the land
His faith confessed;
From simple peasant’s hut to castle grand
His name was blessed.
Full man y a wondrous deed, the legends tell,
He wrought by prayer; some say
He had the power to make a sick man well,
While others have it that he drove all snakes away
From that green isle.
Half truth, half fiction, are these ancient tales
Of good St. Patrick and his olden sway,
Yet never, through the years, old Erin fails,
To give him love and homage on this day. [unnumbered page]

SPRING

Every hill and valley rings
With the joy that April brings;
Gurgling laugh of hill-born streams
Where the first arbutus gleams;
Tender green of leafing trees,
Haunting robin harmonies,
White cloud-galleons that fly
O’er the azure depths of sky,
Opal-tinted mists a-shine
On the far horizon line,
Luring winds, whose magic art,
Calls and calls the gipsy heart.
Ah! they all return again
With the lilt of April’s rain,
She whose happy smile and tear,
Greets the morning of the year. [unnumbered page]

THE GARDEN OF CANADA

Oh mighty are the mountains
That guard our Western shores,
And fair our eastern coastline
Where the great Atlantic roars.
We have wealth of prairie gold,
Vast cities to command,
Yet what can match the beauty 
In the Garden of our land?

How radiant are its orchards! 
Beneath the skies of June,
Where elfin winds o’morning
Pipe up a merry tune;
The scent of dew-wet blossoms
Is blown on every hand,
Oh what can rival springtime
In the Garden of our land?

Where such golden sunlight,
Lake of sapphire hue,
Ribbon-roads that wind along
Calling, calling you;
Where such blossoms breaking 
Like waves on rippled sand,
Rightly have we named it
“The Garden of our land!” [unnumbered page]

DOMINION DAY

Canada –land of beauty
Where Freedom reigns supreme,
O’er mountain, prairie, forest,
Calm lake and rushing stream;
We’re proud of thy vast dominions
That stretch from sea to sea,
To thee with love and honor
We pledge our loyalty.

Old England’s glorious Union Jack
Rules many distant lands,
The sun at daybreak sees it wave,
At evening still it stands;
For the sun ne’er sets on its waving folds
And throughout the Empire wide,
East or West, our Canada
Is Britain’s boast and pride.

Her sons are strong loyal,
Honest and brave and kind,
But when the voice of Duty calls
Do they e’er lag behind?
Look to the fields of Flanders,
And count the crosses there,
Then ask us if Canadians
Have strength to “Do and Dare.” [unnumbered page]
 
Honor to King and Country,
Love for her flag of old
May her history in the coming years
Be written in shining gold;
May Britain ever rule the waves
And hold her ancient migh,
May Britain’s flag forever stand
For Honor, Truth and Right. [unnumbered page]

THANKSGIVING

Once more, O Lord, our grateful praise
	Takes wings
And mounts to Thee, the Giver of
	All things
That men call good;
For harvest plenty
In our land so fair,
For joy, and health, and life itself
Lift we our prayer.
Yet, above all these gifts, stands Peace;
Lord, grant that we may never cease
To hold a memory of those years
When Death’s grim sickle
Gathered a harvest – naught but blood and tears – 
In battle-shattered France.
So let it, in the years to come, be said,
We honored and revered our glorious dead. [unnumbered page]

AUTUMN

The woods are still,
	On every hill
	The flames of goldenrod are burning,
	Whle every fluttering summer leaf
From emerald tine to ruby’s turning.

Across the sky
The wild geese fly
To happy southern lands a-winging,
And hark! Amid the frost-bleached grass,
The last gay crickets are a-singing.

Far hills and dales
The Autumn veils
In misty grey and purple hue,
The winding roads are aster-lined
And arched with sky of sapphire blue.

Thus Autumn dear,
With joy and cheer,
Returns in all her pomp and splendor;
With gipsy winds to lure us on,
What days so precious to remember? [unnumbered page]

THE FOUNDER OF MONTREAL

Thus, with scornful, laughter, spake the
	     Hero Maisonneuve,
	“In my broad shining blade I hold belief,
	And I’ll build a gracious city on this
	     Site called ‘Montreal,’
Though be every waving tree and Indian Chief!” 

And, thus, was born the City of our pride,
Greatest of all the great in our Dominion wide.
We hail it!
Today, where once was naught but forest green,
A thousand buildings tower against the sky;
‘Tis not so many centuries gone by
Since each fair winding city avenue
Was but a twisting trail that only redmen knew;
And now, great ocean liners steam to port,
Where birch canoes were wont to leap the waves;
A stately church stands where an ancient fort
Withstood the arrows of the Indian braves.
Remembering all these things, shall we not give
All honor to that hero of old France
Whose name, so long as that of Montreal shall live,
Will link her fame with days of old romance! [unnumbered page]

IN MEMORIAM*

He whom the Angel of Death so lately called
Unto the higher sunlit hills
Of that fair land,
Where all is ordered only as God wills, 
Has left behind
That which will keep his memory ever green;
A gift, conquering distance as the wind
Sweeping from sea to sea;
Carrying through the air
Messages of hope and love and strife,
And all the things that fill our modern life
As Mercury of old did bear
Messages for the gods.	
Closed is his simple life, so full of noble grace,
Yet, for that which he gave unto the human race,
His name will live forever in the Halls of Fame.

* A Tribute to Alexander Graham Bell, Inventor of the Telephone. [unnumbered page]

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