Edwardian and Georgian Canadian Poets
New Songs

New Songs
by Margaret Bossance Boreham
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There are no songs to sing
   I’ve sung them all,
The songs of Joy and Pain;
   And I would fain
A new song to you bring.

A blackbird’s call,
   A thrush’s cheery trill,
The babbling rill—
   The carillons that from tall towers ring—
Would I could weave and blend them in a song,
   And to you bring.

The perfumed rose,
   A sunset o’er the sea,
The melody
   Of Summer moon and starshine, everything
That speaks to me of God, and Love, and you—
   Of these I’d sing. [unnumbered page]


All the flower bells are ringing,
All the birds in treetops singing
“Come and praise”
Short and sweet the Summer’s winging,
From her swift hands glories flinging
All the days.

Come my love, and with their singing
Join your voice, let it go winging
Through the sky;
Praise and prayer, and anthems ringing,
To the Lord of beauty bringing,
Passing by. [page 2] 


Roseleaves and Lavender, Vervain and Rosemary,
Mingle together in my jar of potpourri.

   Rosemary remembrance brings, soft breezes fleet,
   Perfumes of yesterday, memories sweet.

   Where are the hands that brought Roses to me?
   Gone like the roseleaves dropped. Ah memory!

   Verdure of Vervain, bitter of Rue,
   Brought with the Roses fair, left me by you,

   Mingling together there with Rose’s scent,
   Vervain the sweeter grows, Rue redolent.

Roseleaves and Lavender, Vervain and Rosemary,
Rue lost in perfume in my jar of potpourri. [page 3] 


Hear the song of the wheat, the golden wheat,
Hear the song of the wheat—“Come men and reap,
“My tassels are full, they hang heavy,
My tassels are full, come and reap.”

Hear the cry of the hungry, the poor and hungry,
Hear the cry of the hungry, “Give me bread!”
The needy have stretched out their hands,
They cry to the sky, “Give me bread!”

Brothers we will arise and come and reap,
We will garner the wheat, the golden wheat;
Our barns shall be full, a golden store,
And the cry of the poor shall be no more. [page 4]


When time lets slip one little perfect hour,
   One priceless gem from out Eternity;
Do not refuse this gift of offered dower,
   O take it! Lest it pass away from thee.

Perchance through all thy days, this jewel rare,
   May only once within thine orbit dart;
Thine hand stretch forth and grasp the gift so fair—
   O keep it! Hide it safely in thy heart. [page 5] 


Ding a ling a ling a ling
   Up and back again,
All the Canterbury bells
   Ringing in the rain.

Spires of Foxglove bending down
   To blue Delphinium’s grace;
There a Birch, its wet green gown
   Shakes, and bows apace.

Fairy flowers of Columbine
   Joining in refrain,
Up and down and back again,
   Ringing in the rain.

Full of mystic murmurings
   All the flowers croon,
While the rhythmic garden swings
   With the bells attune.

Ding a ling a ling a ling
   Up and back again;
All the lovely garden bells.
   Ringing in the rain. [page 6] 


Friendship, what is it? A delicate thing,
As sweet as the breath of the flowers in Spring
When fugitive, precious, it hovers in air;
The very quintessence of love, but more rare.
As strong as the Ivy that twines round the tree
It twines round the heartstrings; yet leaves us still free,
Unfettered, from jealousy love often brings;
Incites us to do and to be noble things;
Laughs with us when merry, and happy, and gay,
In sorrow, outstretches a strong hand to stay
And solace the sad heart. If you’d possess
The richest and best gift for life happiness,
Then ask in sincerity that Fate may send
And give to you—just the true heart of a friend. [page 7] 

Somewhere in an old land, where all the men are fishers, and all the little fishing boats have brown sails, a young husband has gone out for the night fishing. Hearing the wind rising, his bride becomes uneasy, she speaks to the boat which holds her all. The storm bursts and she is given a vision of what is occurring.


Little brown sails where are you sailing
   Far out on the wide wide sea?
Little brown sails the wind is wailing.
   You’d better come back to me;
      For a wailing wind means a storm they say,
      So little brown sails come home, and stay.

Little brown sails the stormcloud’s broken,
   The sea’s lashed up into foam!
Little brown sails the wind god’s spoken,
   Never shall you see home!
      With fiendish glee he roars to the sky—
      O, little brown sails—Goodbye—Goodbye. [page 8] 


Let me go out to the great wide spaces;
   Flowers that beckon, and birds that call,
Lure me forth to the wind-swept places,
   Out where my soul may be free from thrall.

Let me go out with the bees and clover,
   Down in a meadow where Flags, unfurled,
Watch the fleece of the sky roll over,
   Softly over the edge of the world.

Let me go out when the mists of dawning,
   Pearly and ghostlike, fade away;
Leaving the diamond dew-decked morning,
   Mirroring, flashing the sun’s first ray.

Then, my soul, art thou lifted, lightened,
   Freshened by sunshine, cleansed by rain;
Drink, drink deep of the windswept gladness,
   And take up the burden of life again. [page 9] 


Through the soft haze of a September day,
Up towards the Sun a great soul went his way,
Till to the gates of Paradise he came—
Then knocked, and to a question gave his name.
The gates were guarded close, a flaming sword
Held by an Angel hand, kept watch and ward.
The Angel questioned, “Hast thou done on Earth
Aught of great merit?” “Nay, of little worth,”
In great humility the answer ran,
“But write me down, ‘He was a friend of man’.”
The Angel smiled, and Lo! the gates swung wide,
Soft music met him as he passed inside,
And voices sweetly chanted welcoming word,
“Come then O friend of man, and meet thy Lord.” [page 10] 


Dreaming of days on the river, rapids, and rainbow foam,
Camp, and the firelight’s quiver, nights in our woodland home,
Fugitive perfumes of Pine knots, Sweet Fern and Fir in the air.
Heart of the woods! Heart of the woods! Calling me, calling me there.

O for the song and the story in the enchanted lands,
Crimson of Maple’s glory, gold of the river sands,
Rustle of leaves in the copse near, bird’s bright winds on the bough—
Heart of the woods! Heart of the woods! Calling me, calling me now.

Drum of the partridge ringing, chatter of chipmunk small,
Sound of the South Wind singing low to the Pine trees tall,
Till drowsy eyelids are drooping, and floating on Dreamland’s sea.
Heart of the woods! Heart of the woods! Calling still to me.

Gone, those days of pure gladness, camping and paddling o’er,
Now with a heart full of sadness, haul the canoe on shore;
Longing for trails once trodden, carrying rod or gun—
Heart of the woods is calling me, calling till life is done. [page 11] 


You who have known them, help me to sing of them,
   Nowhere are lovelier flowers seen,
Than blossoms that bloom in Canada’s gardens,
   From English seed (half a world between).

Lupin, Delphinium waving so airily,
   Hyacinth, Violet, Daffodil,
Blue of the Flaxflower, fashioned so fairily,
   Blooming till frost works its desolate will.

Tulips, Carnations, and Pinks of the bordering,
   Poppies, Verbenas, and Zinnias bold,
Heather of Scotland, Bluebells of England,
   Gay Orange Lilies, and Marigold.

Roses are climbing o’er houses and arbours;
   Crocus and Snowdrop and Scillas blue
Greet us in Springtime. In lavish abundance
   Beauty is with us of every hue
In Canada’s gardens; and pungent with perfume
   Are Lavender, Rosemary, Lilies and Rue.

“Land of the snow,” as a poet has sung of us,
   Summerland laughs at the title, I ween,
Bathing in beauty its valleys and hillsides,
   Painting its prairies in colourful scene.

Dear are our gardens, so let us sing of them,
   Riotous beauty, regardless of snows;
And proudly o’er all waves our loveliest emblem,
   Radiant Maples, as red as a Rose. [page 12] 

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