Edwardian and Georgian Canadian Poets
30th Jul 2013Posted in: Edwardian and Georgian Canadian Poets 0
The Call of the Carillon

The Call of the Carillon

Annie Charlotte Dalton


The Call of the Carillon

Hark! hark! the bells do ring!
Like the white-throat in the Spring,
“I love Canada, Canada, Canada!
I love Canada” they sing.

Oh, hear the bells of Canada,
   As lightly blown as foam
Across our own dear Canada,
Our country ad our home!
From the border to the North Star,
   From strand to far-flung strand,
Hush! the Carillon is sounding
   Over all the land.
The Carillon of Canada
   Rejoicing in youth,
The Carillon of Canada
   Exalting in truth,
   Ringing, singing,
   Singing, ringing,
   Over hill and dale,
   “Truth is mighty,
     Truth is mighty
Truth is mighty and will prevail!”

Now who will go to Canada,
   And what shall you dismay?
For the Carillon is calling
   Far, far away. [Page 1]
From the border to the North Star,
   From strand to far-flung strand,
The golden bells are rippling
   Over all the land.
The Carillon of Canada—
   Why do we roam?
The Carillon of Canada—
   Calling us home,
   Ringing, singing,
   Singing, ringing,
   Over hill and dale,
   “Love is mighty,
     Love is mighty,
Love is mighty and will prevail!”



Mean hovels built from stately trees,
Low canopies that forest kings
Have arched with royal bones to house
          such things,
      Such trivial things as these,

   Rough shelves, a broken glass, a comb
    An axe, a gun, a box, a new
Bright stove, a bunk, a lamp, pots, pans a few
   Stained photographs from home.
   Yet these have too, a sacristan,
   Holy are they, their simple aim
To serve that pure, divine, florescent flame,
   The spirit of a man. [Page 2]


The Beloved City

There, where green-jewelled fingers of the sea
Laid on the alluring shoulders of the land
Show where all beauty and amazements be—
There, where twin-lions’ hoary heads command
A frozen ocean of foam-crested peaks
And level sea-lets cupped in golden sand—

There, where a voice, a new-born nation speaks,
And where the old and travelled echoes ring,
There lies the lovely land the wanderer seeks!
There shines Vancouver—rose and emerald gem—
   Set on the slender fingers of the sea,
Beauty and wholesomeness entwined in them,
   There would the tired and homeless wanderer be!


August Fires

From what divine fires
have these vine-maples taken
their bright vermillion flames?
Far away the mountain-
side is dim and smoking,
and here in the bush-bound vales,
the fireweed, spent, is smouldering,
strewing the brake with clouds.
Crimson is the sun,
all the light is rosy,
everywhere is firelight. [Page 3]


Lake Louise

We are come to the portal of heaven,
To the gate where the gods’ feet glide home,
Where the gods from their wanderings come 
We have climbed to the portal of heaven,
To the wide, withdrawing doors disclosing
This mighty roodscreen built of rock and glacier;
And ever above, the sky-window receding,
Loses its light to the glory below,
To this splendour of turquoise and jade,
To this matrix whence rainbows are born,
To this pool of home-travelling souls,
To this cloister of beauty and peace—
Words! what are words?
We are one with the gods at the portal of heaven.


In a Far Country

In a far country
   All is fair,
Joy is religion,
Work is communion,
   Song is prayer.
In a far country—
   “Where, oh where?

How shall we find it?”
   Do not fear,
Look not before you,
Look not behind you,
   All is near.
“Near?—that far country—”
   Here, oh here! [Page 4]


Steveston, B.C.

The corn is garnered in,
   And the reapers rest from toil,
And the harvest moon is shining down
   On the sere and barren soil.

But out on the silent deep
   Some twinkling lights there be,
Where eager men are watching, keen
   For the harvest of the sea.
There the nets are straining tight
   With their living silver ore,
But the fishers’ hearts are gay and light,
   For their boats are full once more.

Thank God for the harvest moon!
   Thank God for the golden corn!
Thank Him for the silver harvest brought
   To the river-side at morn!


Morning at Jasper Park
(Near Mount Cavell)

Edit Cavell—O strong, O pure!
Clear shines they symbol in this jasper lake; 
So in our loyal hearts thou art set secure,
So mirrored sweetly while our hearts endure,
   For true love’s sake.

No scarlet poppies here for tears—
   But round thy feet,
The flaming tiger lilies’ spears
   And banners meet. [Page 5]


From the Train

Golden Ontario in September!
The wheatlands of Ontario,
The rock ranges, the rock gardens
   of Ontario—
Deep, tranquil streams,
Vast lakes with giant outspread fingers,
Proud cities,
Ravished meadows, trampled orchards;
Sun-painted fruits, earth-burnished roots,
Strong men, strong women, strong children—
Hail, hail the glory of Ontario
In September!
Withered leaves blown down upon the rocks,
Withered houses.
Unconquerable crags?—
Nay, man has bound their ankles with flexible loops
   of steel,
Bored their ankles to the bone and pierced their 
Tiny white churches,
Lovely God’s acres;
Mighty rivers whose bevelled edges tell
Of spate.
Stark mountains whose dropped garments clothe
Sleek comfortable pastures at their feet.

The train rushes on,
But I shall remember.
Deep in my heart lives golden Ontario,
Golden Ontario in September! [Page 6]


Ah! Ah La Kissla!

O fair Indian maiden! my ship outward glides,
   In what dreamland haven are you?
For soft as the Chinook and slow as the tides,
   Comes murmuring your gentle adieu,
      “Ah! ah la kissla!”

Oh, sweet is this music from nowhere; as sweet
   And secret as love is the thrill,
This fragment of music, entrancing, complete,
   As echoing chimes from the hill,
      “Ah! ah la kissla!”

A klooch here is squatting, her dull and bleared eye
   Looks on me as outward we move;
I hear from cracked lips that ethereal sigh,
   Again this sweet language of love,
      “Ah! ah la kissla!”

Oh, sad am I now from the Nootka to part—
   What though my dream-maiden be old?
The joy and the music she brought to my heart,
   Can never, oh, never be told:
      “Ah! ah la kissla!”

Note—“Ah! ah la kissla!” means “good-bye,” but not in the district where it was used. [Page 7]


The Lonely Places

Where are the gods who lived here long ago?
Few, few and scattered are the human faces;
Call back the gods—our hearts are crying so,
Canada! crying in thy lonely places.

Here we have need of something warm and human,
Something to visit us, to leave us kindly traces;
Something half-god, half-man, or wholly woman—
Bring back the gods to fill these lonely places.

Ah! that long range, its hateful folds enlinking—
Crouch, crouch, thou monstrous snake, full-gorged and shameless!
Two headed, horrible, four-eyes, unwinking—
(Sick, sick, my soul! with everlasting sameness.)

The dead and living trees on yonder bank
That drops so steeply to the lonely mere,
For safety lean, the full-leaved and the lank,
So leans green memory on my stark despair.

God has gone hence. He loves the crowded city;
Safe are the children there whom Christ embraces;
Lone, lone, alone—who shall on us have pity?
Call back the gods to fill these silent places.

“Great are the gods! They minister before Me,
(Fierce are these virginal, inviolate spaces),
Great are the gods! They worship, they adore Me;
Great are the gods who rule these lonely places!

The East is whispering to the West, her mouth
Close to his ear, they see each other’s faces;
The North ahs told My secret to the South:
There shall be no more silent, lonely places!” [Page 8]

Goat’s Heart
(When a wild sheep is near to death it descends to the shelter of a wooded valley, and there awaits the end. The wild goat of the Rockies…is content to lie down and sleep forever more…on the upland solitudes of his beloved hills.—Dan McCowan)

Like a battening sheep, many days
   I would graze;
With my wandering heart upon the hill,
   Took my fill,
   Broke my will.
In the mean and pleasant pasturing maze.

Aching for my heart on the hill,
   Limp and still,
Like a mountain sheep’s my body lies;
   Lying, dies;
   Dying, cries,
“But thy heart—it shall die on the hill.

With the flying goat it shall leap
   Up the steep,
Panting, it shall breathe that upland air,
   Cold and rare,
   Waiting there
For the next supreme adventure of sleep.”


The Quarry

Is it the wind amongst the corn—
Is it the sound of the hunter’s horn?
And the young of the quarry are still unborn!

Rest, little ripple, amongst the corn,
Rest, little quarry, until the morn,
I see no hunter, I hear no horn. [Page 9]


After the Rain at Jericho, B.C.

The softened light, the tender air,
The breath of loam breathed everywhere,
Dim perfume of rich amber gums,
The transient scent of ripening plums
Wafted above the orchard-wall,
Weird gusts of golden leaves that fall
’Mid musk and still uncurling fern—
Dear, blessed, green and growing things!
Your life is full of gushing springs,
And even these stones beside the road
Lift up clean faces—they are meet
Memorials of the Mercy-seat.


My Country

How shall I show my heart’s true love for thee,
   Love for thee, my country?
Fiercely my bosom burns to honour thee,
   Honour thee, my country!
I will be true! What more can age or youth?
Praise be to thee, my country dear! Thy soul be truth!

Who would not live and love and toil for thee,
   Toil for thee, my country?
Who would not live and love and die for thee,
   Die for thee, my country?
Strong, fast, and true, the race be to thy soul,
Praise be to thee, my country dear, and God thy goal! [Page 10]



I sing of a land where the clean breezes blow,
   And the bold Northern Lights spread their fan,
Where green mountains tower, and the wide rivers flow,
   And call for the soul of a man
      O hillsman! O dalesman! 
      ’Tis a country calls for you;
   Where the clean breezes blow, and the wide waters roll,
There is meat for your body, there is sustenance for your mind,
   And a god-measured space for your soul!
I sing of a land where the warm breezes blow,
   Where Psyche goes roaming with Pan,
Where all pleasant things in their loveliness grow
   To gladden the heart of a man. 
      O hillsman! O dalesman! 
      Here’s a country calls for you;
   Where the warm breezes blow, and the wide waters roll,
There is meat for your body, there is sustenance for your mind.
   And a god-measured space for your soul! [Page 11]

Silhouettes in the Street

We sat behind her in the car
at such a time as flappers are
decking the streets like scented flowers
and wakening up the lazy hours.
What sweeter thing could meet the gaze—
with gold and ivory amaze?

A white slim neck, an ivory tower,
above it shimmering haze, a shower
of crinkling hair; on either side
a bunch of curls with true knots tied—
a bunch of curls, a carillon
of golden bells to play upon,
and all about them golden mist,
and rainbow dreams and amethyst.

We gazed our fill and when she rose
(nor deep and even water flows
more quietly than she who left 
the car and our pleased vision reft)
a dainty labourer went her way,
a honey-butterfly for pay,
a baby one would love to kiss,
a little self-respecting “Miss.” [Page 12]

And now the cunning truth I tell:
had she been dark, ’twere just as well,
her neck had not then been less white,
nor wanting of the pure delight
of edging bronze ’twixt day and night,
where dusky hair had made a mist
and stars of heaven had stooped and kissed,
and bells of bronze or bells of gold,
the tale is equally well told
of dainty labourers in the sun
or wind or rain when night is done,
and shop or office work begun,
for each, a lovely glamourist,
shedding a bronze or golden mist,
and ringing all those chiming bells
she rarely buys and never sells,
goes tripping forth to earn her living,
and gracious with unconscious giving
of fresh and youthful beauty,
transcends her bounden duty—
a baby one would love to kiss,
a little self respecting “Miss.”

“Onward Christian Soldier!” Once again I hear it—
   Trumpet-call the children sang all down the crowded street;
Bands of Hope and Sunday Schools march in gay procession,
   Once again I hear them sing, I hear their marching feet. [Page 13]

Listen! “Rock of Ages,” “Little Town of Bethlehem,”
   Listen! How sweetly—reverent and slow—
“Lift up your heads, O ye gates of Jerusalem”—
   Songs that I heard in my childhood long ago.

Hymns that so long have laid in my bosom,
   Hymns that the common folk and weary rulers know—
Oh! Can the Cherubim and Seraphim know sweeter?—
   Songs that our lost ones taught us long ago!

   I read my book in the street-car,
   I read of the rapture of love,
   The rapture of beauty,
   Black hair and perfumed kisses
   Of Oriental delight,
   War-song, and jewel-song.
   I look up. ...
   I look out of the window—alas! 
   The butcher’s man is leaving
   His red cart in the street.
   He moves across the wet pavement,
   The little brown calf on his shoulder,
   Hanging so limply on his white-clad shoulder,
   The little dead calf—
   Alas for joy! Alas for beauty!
   Sadly I go home—
   There is veal in the larder. [Page 14]

What was it made our hearts beat with a bound,
And you and I to look at one another?
Naught but a puppy going to the pound,
And gazing wistfully around—
   A baby without mother.

I like to go to houses
Where the windows please me.
I hate to go to houses
Where the windows tease me,
I like windows that look shy,
Friendly and inscrutable—the human eye
When at its best, looks just like that:
Mouse-shy, dog-friendly, inscrutable as a cat.
I like windows with dark lashes,
Slender, bright and coal-black lashes
Close to the glass—not those that painted women
Affect to make their eyes look big;
Also for white and yellow trimmin’
I do not care a fig.
I hate their boiled and fishy eyes,
I hate them daubed with gaudy dyes.
I like to go to houses
Where the windows please me.
I hate to go to houses
Where the windows tease me. [Page 15]


God Save Thee, Canada!

God save thee, Canada!
God bless thee Canada!
   Long may we sing,
“We with our brothers stand,
Free men in freedom’s land,
Loyal in heart and hand,
   God save the King!”

Queen of the Northern Sea
Splendid in unity,
   Fearless soul!
Oh! may our hearts grow great,
And we, re-consecrate,
March on with faith elate,
   Godward and whole!

God save our gracious King!
Long live our noble King,
   God save the King!
Send him victorious
Happy and glorious,
Long to reign over us,
   God save the King! [Page 16]
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