Edwardian and Georgian Canadian Poets
Songs Being a Selection of Earlier Sonnets and Lyrics

This is Chap-book Number Seventy-seven

OF THIS EDITION OF SONGS BY HELENA COLEMAN, FIVE HUNDRED COPIES ONLY HAVE BEEN PRINTED. THIS CHAP-BOOK IS A PRODUCT OF THE RYERSON PRESS, TORONTO, CANADA.

Copyright, Canada, 1937, by

The Ryerson Press, Toronto

     Miss Helena Coleman was born in a parsonage at Newcastle, Ontario, being a descendant of John Quincy Adams, and has resided most of her life in Toronto. Her two books of verse are Songs and Sonnets (1906) and Marching Men (1917), and from these distinguished volumes, long out of print, this present selection is made. Hitherto, this series of Chap-Books has refrained from including poems which have already appeared in book form. It has been felt, however, that poems so deservedly popular as these should be made available in this form. [inside front cover]

[illustration:

The RYERSON

POETRY

CHAP-BOOKS]

Songs

BEING A SELECTION OF EARLIER SONNETS AND LYRICS

By Helena Coleman

 ♣♣♣

I AM CONTENT WITH CANADA

OF COUNTRIES far and famed have I been told,

    And of the joys that foreign travel brings,

Of wonders, beauties, one would fain behold

    To stir the heart with fresh imaginings.

And I myself in storied Switzerland

    Have watched the Alps in their majestic calm,

And been by jasmine-scented breezes fanned

    In tropic isles that bear the stately palm.

And many a fabled castle on the Rhine

    Has winged my fancy as we drifted by;

Beside the oleander and the vine

    I’ve dreamed beneath the soft Italian sky.

But I have never been more deeply stirred

    By any loveliness of land or sea

Than when upon Canadian shores I’ve heard

    The lonely loon or curlew call to me. [page 1]

Across our own unnumbered Northern lakes,

    And over leagues of winding water-ways

Upon whose nameless shores the aspen shakes

    And yellows in the soft autumnal haze.

(And Oh! to swing away where all is new,

    And share the haunts of shy and tameless things

To dip one’s paddle in the liquid blue

    And skim the water lightly as with wings!)

When drifting on the broad St. Lawrence tide,

    And those islands wrought of mist and dream,

To realms of unreality I glide,

    Where phantom stars within the waters gleam,

Or when among the Rockies I have caught

    The sudden rise of peaks above the cloud,

And on the tumult of my quickened thought

    New visions, dreams, and aspirations crowd;

Or, thinking of the future and of all

    That generations yet unborn shall see—

The forests that for axe and ploughshare call,

    The wealth of golden harvests yet to be;

I am content with Canada, and ask

    No fairer land than has been given me,

No greater joy, no more inspiring task,

    Than to upbuild and share her destiny.

CANDLE-FLAME

HAST singed thy pretty wings, poor moth?

Fret not; some moths there be

That wander all the weary night,

Longing in vain to see

The light.

Hast felt the scorching flame, poor heart?

Grieve not; some hearts exist

That know not, grow not to be strong,

And weep not, having missed

The song. [page 2]

POSTPONEMENT

BEHIND their veils of clinging mist,

Elusive as a dream,

In changing rose and amethyst

The mountains stood supreme.

Consume as by some inward fire

Of brooding mystery,

They held the heart of his desire—

His love and poetry.

And always, ever, some dear time—

So ran his hidden hopes—

He meant to leave his task and climb

Their beckoning emerald slopes,

To scale their precipices bold,

And watch the rose-wreaths rise,

To see the gates of Heaven unrolled

Before his longing eyes.

But always, always, something pressed

Between him and his aim;

He kept his dream, but gave the rest

To meet the common claim.

He ploughed the black and fertile plain,

And sowed the waiting soil,

And harvested the yellow grain,

And spent his days in toil;

Nor failed to give a helping hand

When others stood in need;

But strove to meet each new demand

With patient word and deed.

So went the seasons. Wrapped in mist

The mountains, blue and gold,

Behind their veils of amethyst

Still wait, but—he is old! [page 3]

OUR COMMON BROTHERHOOD

I NEVER saw his face, or knew his name,

But that gay morning as I loitering came

Around the blossoming hillside, all aflame

With lilac spires and apple-blossoms brave,

That to the rifling air their sweetness gave,

I saw where they were making him his grave!

If I had chanced to meet him by the way,

In all the golden sunshine of the day,

No pleasant word I might have found to say;

But since he could no longer come to meet

The world, love-smitten, dreaming at his feet,

Nor feel within his pulse the springtide beat,

Nor love again, I gave for him instead,

And poured upon his low, unconscious head

The sacramental love that shrives the dead.

And though I went my way with eyelids wet

For grief of one whom I had never met,

Because his day so soon was ended, yet

I turned my face up Heavenward again,

Believing human love is not in vain;

And, moved and softened by the sudden strain

Of fellowship, I touched the larger mood

Of universal love, and understood

The meaning of our common brotherhood.

MOTHER-BORN

SINCE fate has given you no child

    To lie within your arm,

That by its presence undefiled

    Should keep your soul from harm,

If you were truly mother-born,

    You would have played the part,

And found some little one forlorn

    To fold within your heart. [page 4]

WHEN AUTUMN COMES

WHEN Spring first breathes on the russet hill,

In her own faint, lovely fashion,

One’s pulses stir with a sudden thrill;

But when Autumn comes the heart stands still,

Moved with a deeper passion.

There’s a wonderful charm in the soft, still days

When earth to her rest is returning,

When the hills are drowned in a purple haze,

When the wild grape sweetens, and all in a blaze

Of crimson the maples are turning.

Open your gates, O heart of mine!

These are the days we have waited,

Earth has distilled a draught divine,

These are the days that hold the wine

Of Summer concentrated.

CONQUEST

I TRIM to the gale, I carry my banner unfurled,

I steer to a chart unseen and unknown to the world.

I challenge the fates, I laugh in the face of defeat,

I look from afar and know not the sign of retreat.

The chosen went forth, I stood with them not on the roll,

I stood in my place uncalled and was valiant of soul.

Denial has been my armor well-tempered and bright,

From pain I have woven banners both crimson and white.

From out of the dark I forged me a trumpet and blew,

From out of the dark came ringing a voice that I knew.

The victors returned, I heard them come marching in line.

The victors returned—the conqueror’s triumph was mine!

My vigils are filled with the sound of the trumpeter’s song,

I wait for the dawn content. I have seen and am strong. [page 5]

THE VOICES OF OUR DAY

HOW shall we bring to one clear tone

    The divers voices of our day,

    Or what authority obey

Where tongues arise, confused, unknown?

How shall we in the clamor give

    To each an undivided ear,

    Or through discordant doctrines hear

The still, small voice imperative?

Where devious roadways twist and cross

    How shall we find the narrow way

    That leads afar to endless day,

Past all this fevered fret and loss?

Can doubting spirits ever thrust

    Their roots deep to the heart of life?

    Or bear above its toil and strife

The fruit of steadfast love and trust?

When in the wilderness we roam

    And from afar strange voices call

    And night’s uncertain shadows fall,

How shall we know which way leads home?

FOREST TRAGEDY

AFLOAT upon the tide one summer night,

Dreamily watching how the moonbeams bright

Made little broken rings of fairy light,

And vaguely lost in that half-conscious mood

That steals upon the sense in solitude,

I drifted near a shadowy island wood

Where all was silent, scarce a leaf was stirred—

So still the air—when suddenly I heard

The piercing, anguished cry as of a bird

In such distress it made the echoes ring

And set the startled silence quivering—

The wild appeal of some sweet feathered thing [page 6]

In its extremity. And then a sound,

Half-muffled, faint, and all again was drowned

In silence inarticulate, profound.

I went my way along the lonely shore

But that despairing cry—the sound it bore

Of destiny—remains for evermore;

And in my restless heart that bitter strain

Of questioning doubt and wild rebellious pain—

I thought was laid—came surging up again.

SINCE READING MAETERLINCK

I USED to think the honey-bee

    A harmless little fellow,

An animated symphony

    Done up in brown and yellow,

But since I read my Maeterlinck

I really don’t know what to think.

Such marvellous sagacity

    And delicate acumen,

Such zeal and pertinacity

    Are really more than human;

Such order, industry and law

Inspire me with the deepest awe.

Republican in principle

    Is laid their constitution,

And every little waxen cell

    Accords with evolution;

Their national life is most complex—

Nor merely to be thought reflex.

The queen and all her acolytes

    Are carefully defended,

The drones and all the lesser lights

    Are also well attended;

That they can fashion queen or drone

Most undeniably is shown. [page 7]

They practise every secret art,

    Nature herself defying,

And to the death each plays his part—

’Tis really stupefying;

One questions if great Socrates

Knew half as much as honey-bees.

I almost feel I should forsake—

    It seems such desecration—

The honey that I used to take

    With so much delectation

As if one ate the very flowers—

The hearts of happy summer hours.

If ever country life to you

    Seems dull and overrated,

And you would have a point of view

    Both fresh and elevated,

Read up on Bees, by Maeterlinck,

He’ll show you how to see and think.

THE RECRUIT

THROUGH all the anguish of those days,

    The haunting horror and the woe,

One thought can set my heart ablaze,

    My memory aglow.

It is his look just as he turned

    After the last good-byes were said,

A look as though for him there burned

    Some beacon-light ahead.

As though beyond the farthest thought

    Of this dark world’s horizon rim,

Some star of faith by us uncaught

    Swung into range for him.

As though his spirit, winged, had flown

    Past stormy seas on some far quest,

And like a bird had found its own

    Hid in a quiet nest. [page 8]

ROCKING IN THE BAY

FROM my nook beneath the pine

I can see the graceful line

    Of the little brown canoe in the bay;

Bright and windy is the weather,

But there’s no one to untether

    And go speeding to the open far away

Where the ragged clouds are flying

And the sunset gold is dying—

Empty, listless, she is lying,

Idly rocking, idly rocking

    In the bay.

How she’d leap to answer him

When he took the paddle slim

    And they’d race as laughing victors to the fray!

They would climb the waves together,

Riding buoyant as the feather—

    Or a bird that slant a wet wing to the spray;

But the echoing laughter dies,

Lone and far the seagull cries,

And the little playmate lies

Idly rocking, idly rocking,

    In the bay.

Son o’ mine, O little son,

Has the race indeed been run—

    Have the storm-clouds turned the blue and gold to grey?

God be praised who gave you grace,

Strength of heart and will to face

    Wilder winds upon the death-fields far away;

God be praised for lads like you,

And for hearts that measure true,

Though we turn our brimming eyes

To your little brown canoe

By the reedy shore that lies

All the empty summer through

Idly rocking, idly rocking,

    In the bay. [page 9]

ON THE TRAIL

OH, there’s nothing like the prairie

    When the wind is in your face,

And a thunder-storm is brewing,

    And night comes down apace—

’Tis then you feel the wonder

    And immensity of space.

Far in the gathering darkness

    Against the dying day

The ghostly hills are lying,

    The hills that stand for aye—

How in the dusk they glimmer

    And palpitate away.

Behind them still there lingers

    A hint of sunset gold;

The trail before you stretches,

    A long black ribbon unrolled—

Long and black and narrow,

Where the buffalo trod of old.

Though motionless for ever,

    The prairies seem to keep

The rolling swell and hollow

    Of some undulating deep,

As to the edge of heaven

    And still beyond they sweep.

Between your knees the bronco

    Goes hotly o’er the plain,

With rhythmic swing and measure

    You feel him give and strain,

And on your cheek come stinging

    The first wild drops of rain.

How vast the world and void!

    No living thing in sight,

As to the lonely prairie

    Comes down the lonely night,

But in your heart what freedom—

    What sense of buoyant flight! [page 10]

Once more the pulses quicken

    With life’s exultant pride,

With hope and high ambition,

    As on and on you ride,

Till all the old desires

    Come galloping beside.

Oh, there’s nothing like the prairie

    When the wind is in your face,

And the boom of distant thunder

    Comes rolling up apace—

’Tis then you feel the wonder

    And immensity of space.

THE GUARDIANS OF THE PLACE

ABOUT the old deserted place,

    So long forsaken and forlorn,

There lingers still a touch of grace,

    A fragrance every year new-born.

For lilacs there in Spring unfold

    Beside the long unopened door,

Communion still they seem to hold

    With those who come and go no more.

Against the window-frame they lean,

    Their banners floating to the air,

And spread their arms as if to screen

    The silent shadows lurking there.

Pale spires uplifted to the sun

    Break into bloom as if to fill,

In memory of days long done,

    The empty place with fragrance still.

As if with beauty they would hide

    The fallen fortunes of the race,

Still cherishing with love and pride

    The old traditions of the place.

So, year by year, they closer press,

    And every season slowly spread,

Praising with silent loveliness

    The unknown, long-forgotten dead. [page 11]

THE SOUL BEHIND

OH, lovely is the human face,

Its curves and color, form and grace

    So tenderly combined.

But oh, however fair it be,

It is not beautiful to me

Nor full of charm unless I see

    The living soul behind.

And lovely are Earth’s various moods,

Her winter snows, her summer woods,

    Her meadows green and broad;

But oh, I find no loveliness

In mountain, sea, or sky, unless

Their changing forms to me express

    The changelessness of God.

SEPTEMBER COMES AGAIN

AND now September! in whose languid veins

    The wine of summer, slow-distilling, flows;

The light and glory fade—the laughter wanes,

    But earth more lovely grows.

O rare September! has it all been said—

    The wistful hours, the soft, reluctant days,

When Nature seems to pause with arms outspread

    And heart that yearns both ways?

Upon the mellowed harp-strings of the vine

    The fitful winds their soft foreboding urge,

And with the liquid murmurs of the pine

    In plaintive sweetness merge.

The mountains, veiled in gold and amethyst,

    Their once familiar outlines scarcely show;

Across the uplands, faint with purple mist,

    The oaks and maples glow.

Those gathering mists the coming change would hide,

    But in our hearts already sound the knell.

 Oh, never surges love in such a tide

    As when we say farewell! [page 12]

Yet come, September! All the old desires,

    The old enchantments, at your touch return—

’Tis in our hearts your August-kindled fires

    In deepest rapture burn.

And in our hearts the ancient melody

    That Earth has yielded of her joy and pain,

Comes softly stealing, echoed back from thee

    In one surpassing strain.

Still Summer waits, her mood with thine akin,

    As if her love could not release its hold

Until her little hosts were folded in

    Against the coming cold—

Against the cold till March once more unlocks

    The gates of frost and rives the icy chains,

And June returns to lead her little flocks

    Across the fields again—

Across the fields, beyond the shining hill,

    When Pan plays up his pipes o’ love and pain—

But now, O heart of mine, be still, be still,

    September comes again!

THE FIELDS ARE GREEN IN CANADA

THE fields are green in Canada,

    And bloom is on the bough,

The orchards by the farmhouse

    Are just a glory now;

The thorn-trees by the fences,

    The lilacs by the door,

Seem more intent on blooming than

    They ever did before.

        But there are eyes in Canada

            That cannot see for tears

        And there are hearts in Canada

            Grown weary with their fears,

        The nesting birds of Canada,

            They pipe to deafened ears. [page 13]

The April woods of Canada

    Harbour the sweetest things—

A flash of lilting rapture

    Mere recollection brings;

Hepaticas and violets

    And all the fairy train

Run out in rosy pathways to

    Subdue the world again.

        But who is there in Canada

            Has any mind to-day

        To roam the woods of Canada

            Or count the flowers of May,

        When Sorrow walks in Canada

            And Grief has mind to stay?

Yet is there bloom in Canada

    With scent of other life

Plucked from the fields of burning,

    Snatched from the hands of strife;

And they who won it, silenced

    Just at the turn of dawn,—

Their names shall long remembered be

    When ours are dimmed and gone.

        They made a song for Canada

            Shall ring the world around.

        Though hearts may grieve, yet Canada

            For evermore is crowned,

        And those green fields of Canada

            Henceforth are sacred ground.

THE SEED

SCARCE had my flower bloomed when one

    By one its crimson petals fell;

    Touched by some change inscrutable

Its life and loveliness were done.

And with it something in my heart

    Suddenly passed and was no more,

    As if a hand had closed the door

Where Beauty, dreaming, sat apart. [page 14]

O life, O loveliness, how brief!

    How soon the costly wine is spilled—

    The casket sealed, the laughter stilled—

But oh, how long, how endless, grief!

So musing, mourning, I complained,

    When lo! a seed replaced my flower;

All that was drawn from sun and shower

In substance still to me remained.

       •       •       •       •       •       •       •       •

A voyager, this tiny barque,

    That breasts the sea of change and loss,

    What power fashioned it to cross

The wide abysses of the dark?

Shall not that Power in some sphere

    Beyond our finite reach or ken

    Bring into life and bloom again

The good we sought to fashion here?

NIGHT AMONG THE THOUSAND ISLANDS

MYSTERIOUS falls the moon’s transforming light

    On lichen-covered rock and granite wall,

Comes piercing through the hollows of the night

    The loon’s weird, plaintive call.

Like some great regiment upon the shore

    The stalwart pines go trooping up the hill,

And faintly in the distance o’er and o’er

    Echoes the whip-poor-will.

Like silhouettes the dreaming island keep

    Their silent watches, mirrored in the tide,

While in their labyrinthine aisles some deep,

    Still mystery seems to hide.

From out the shadows dim against the sky

    Come stealing shadow-ships not made of men,

Faint phantom-barques that slowly drifting by

    Are swallowed up again. [page 15]        

While silently beneath, the river flows,

    Unfathomed, dark, a great resistless tide,

Within its bosom deep, the virgin snows,

    From many a mountain-side.

And, drifting with the current, how we feel

    The haunting witchery of Beauty’s spell!

The world we left behind seems too unreal,

    Where such enchantments dwell.

The vexing cares that overfill our days

    Slip stealthily away, and we are wooed

Back to the healing, half-forgotten ways

    Of peace and solitude.

ANALOGY

I

WHILE yet ’twas dark mine eyes were formed to see;

In silence, ears were shapen unto me.

Ere I traversed the subtle ways of thought

Within the sealèd crypt a brain was wrought.

And delicately fashioned was the hand,

Though all unknown the task it should command.

Yet these are but the parts; what of the whole—

The man compact, complete, a living soul?

Shall that which grew within him year by year—

Knowledge and judgment, mastery of fear,

The dawning dram of kindlier brotherhood,

And that dim hope, so little understood,

Which seems to beckon to some higher end

Than yet has the power to comprehend—

Shall these prove fallow, and the finished man

Be unrelated to the final plan? [page 16]

II

Can man know longing for a thing

    That is not—has not been?

Dare we distrust desires that spring

    Spontaneous within?

Tongue argues speech; and power, deed—

   Each is by each implied;

Can there be universal need

    Unmet, unsatisfied?

The heart attuned to love will find

    Love waiting at the door,

He who to knowledge turns his mind

    Finds knowledge there before,

And shall the deepest want we know,

    The spirit’s anguished cry

For kinship through the darkness go

    Unanswered from on high?

ACHIEVEMENT

A SUDDEN turn—at last was scaled

    The summit of his aim,

The cheer went up, his name was hailed

    With generous acclaim.

But he for whom they raised the shout

    And wreathed the shining bay

Strove in his soul with new-born doubt,

    And silent, turned away.

Before his vision there arose,

    Like sceptres of the night,

The nameless company of those

    Who perished in the fight;

The host baptized in blood and tears,

    Outstripped upon the way,

To whom the gray monotonous years

    Bring no redeeming day; [page 17]

The hapless, toiling, tired throng

    Who sow but never reap,

And through their weary lives one long

    Unceasing vigil keep.

And as he gazed there rose and burned

    An anguish in his soul,

His earlier dreams forgot, he turned

    Back from the hard-won goal;

Back to the crowded ways to bear

    The common lot again,

To mingle tears with tear and share

    Life’s heritage of pain.

There, though he bears no meed of praise,

    Yet rounded with content,

He knows a joy that far outweighs

    The world’s aggrandizement.

MORE LOVELY GROWS THE EARTH

MORE lovely grows the earth as we grow old,

    More tenderness is in the dawning spring,

    More bronze upon the blackbird’s burnished wing,

And richer is the autumn cloth-of-gold;

A deeper meaning, too, the years unfold,

    Until to waiting hearts, each living thing

    For every love its bounty seems to bring,

Intreating us with beauty to behold.

Or is it that with years we grow more wise

    And reverent to the mystery profound—

Withheld from careless or indifferent eyes—

    That broods in simple things the world around—

More conscious of the Love that glorifies

    The common ways and makes them holy ground? [page 18]

THE WARDEN

O FEVERISH heart, that dost forever strain

    Against forbidding bars that still withhold

    Fulfilment of thy hope—thy dream untold,

Thy longing passion spends itself in vain.

No distant heights there are for thee to gain,

    The azure deeps where white wings may unfold

    In glimmering dawns or flaming sunset-gold

Unknown to thee shall evermore remain.

For by thee in thy prison Something stands—

    Some higher shape of self, mayhap—with face

Compassionate as an angel’s, but whose hands

    Shall never set thee free—nay, yesternight

It stood long, silent, gazing into space,

    Then made more fast the doors that bar thy flight.

AMONG THE MOUNTAINS

AS FAR as sight could reach the wild peaks rose,

    Tier after tier against the limpid blue,

    Titanic forms that stormed the heavens anew

At every turn, crowned with imperial snows;

And then, as day sank softly to its close,

    Diaphanous, ethereal they grew,

    Mere wraiths of rainbow-mist that from our view

Dream-laden, lapsed to darkness and repose.

And suddenly I found my vision blurred,

    And knew that deeper chord was touched again

Which once in Hungary, when I had heard

    A passionately wild, appealing strain

Of gypsy music, left me strangely stirred

    With incommunicable joy and pain. [page 19]

ON MOUNT PILATUS

I STOOD on Mount Pilatus, freshly crowned

    In all the splendour of new-fallen snow,

    And heard the bells of myriad flocks below,

Filling the valleys with mysterious sound;

Enchanting cadences, that lingering wound

    Among the dreaming hills, elusive, slow,

    And bearing the liquid ebb and flow

An elemental music, faint, profound.

And I have wondered if the joy and pain,

    And happy laughter and the anguished sighs,

So strangely blended in our lives, attain

    Consistency and sweetness as they rise,

And, woven to one pure, ethereal strain,

    Make harmony beyond the tranquil skies.

BEYOND THE VIOLET RAYS

BEYOND the violet rays we do not know

    What colours lie, what fields of light abound,

    Or what undreamed effulgence may surround

Our dreaming consciousness above, below;

Nor is it far that finite sense can go

    Along the subtle passages of sound,

    The finer tonal waves are too profound

For mortal ears to catch their ebb and flow.

And there are moments when upon us steal

    Monitions of far wider realms that lie

Beyond our spirit borders, and we feel

    That fine, ethereal joys we cannot name,

In some vast orbit circling, sweeping by,

    Touch us in passing as with wings of flame. [page 20]

THE SENSE OF MYSTERY

I WOULD not lose the sense of mystery

That broods about our little lives and springs

Eternal from the unknown heart of things,

Nor miss by rude familiarity

Perception of the finer harmony

That underlies all dissonance and brings

The unseen to our consciousness and flings

A glory round our way continually.

For they alone shall win their happiness

Who still make room for things inscrutable;

And he who sees the greater in the less—

Who finds in folded leaf or purple bell

The Infinite—must in himself possess

Some kinship with the daily miracle.

ON SILENT BATTLE-FIELDS

UPON the deathless battle-field, where all

    The pulses leap responsive to the beat

    Of martial music, and amidst the heat

Of mortal strife is heard the inner call,

The nation’s need—which ever holds in thrall

    Heroic souls—never to know defeat,

    But go with high, unshrinking heart to meet

The foe—it would not seem so hard to fall.

But on the fields at home when hope is fled

    And only ghosts of former joys remain—

God pity those unknown who daily tread

    The desolate, monotonous ways of pain.

And nightly bivouac, with their hosts of dead

    On silent battle-fields where hearts are slain. [page 21]

AS ONE EMBARKING

AS ONE embarking turns deep-visioned eyes

    Back to his fast-receding native shore,

    Whose crystal tides shall ebb and flow no more

For him, or sound their silver harmonies;

And there beholds how all the landscape lies

    Transfigured with a charm it never wore

    In those indifferent early days before

He faced the loneliness of foreign skies;

So earth becomes, to eyes bedimmed with tears

    Of that impending change whose silent knell

Sounds at the heart of slowly-waning years

    (Even to those who always loved it well),

Transfigured with a charm that more endears,

    And touched with beauty indescribable.

THOUGH BOUND TO EARTH

THOUGH we are bound to earth by many ties,

    And all along the roads whereby we came

    A thousand tongues to listening hearts proclaim

Our kinship with the world that round us lies;

Though sunlit fields and woods and arching skies,

    And flowers that break in shafts of living flame,

    Constrain with beauty all our quickened frame,

Breathing love’s messages in sweetest guise;

Yet deeper than all rapture earth may bring

    Is that fine sense whereby we are aware

Of something in ourselves that does not spring

    From life without or in its fullness share,

But like a captive bird with quivering wing

    Strains ever to its native, purer air.

THE TEMPLE

HE BUILT a temple in his youth, so fair—

So lofty in conception and design,

    It seemed like some creation half divine,

A fitting place for penitence and prayer.

With selfless zeal he wrought, his only care

To give his best—his all—and build a shrine

    That should afar for longing pilgrims shine,

Calling their weary souls to worship there. [page 22]

But long neglected now the temple stands,

    Its crumbling walls with rusted ivy hung,

And he who built it with the eager hands

    And shining hope of youth now sits among

    The money-changers at the market-place,

    Suspicious, calculating, cold of face.

THE RECONCILER

SHE KNEW but one desire, one single aim

    Consumed her days and robbed her nights of rest—

    To reconcile the two whom she loved best,

Who, long estranged, yet of one household came;

And while for this she strove, her gentle frame

    And tender heart were often sore distressed,

    For all her longing love and pain repressed

Seemed but as fuel added to the flame.

But on that day of silence when she passed

    By unseen pathways to the distant spheres,

What life had failed to do, death wrought at last,

    For they who through the long, embittered years

Had spoken not, now stood with hands locked fast,

    And looked into each other’s face with tears.

KING’S PALACES

I VISITED the palaces of kings,

    And marvelled at the storied treasure brought

    With vast expenditure of time and thought

To play upon the heart’s imaginings;

All cunningly devised and priceless things—

    Fine sculptured forms, rare, costly gems that caught

    The sun, great canvases, and fabrics wrought

With wondrous skill to give the fancy wings.

But coming forth, there crowded round my way

    Such opulence of nature’s tapestries,

That I reflected how the humblest may

    Inherit all those lavish treasuries

Beside which human art is children’s play,

And kings’ possessions merest travesties. [page 23]

O NOT WHEN APRIL WAKES THE DAFFODILS!

(1917)

O NOT when April wakes the daffodils,

    And bob-o-links o’er misty meadows ring

    Their fluted bells, and orchards fleeced with spring

Go climbing up to crown the radiant hills;—

Not when the budding balm o’Gilead spills

    Its spices on the air, and lilacs bring

    Old days to mind and every living thing

The brimming cup with fresh enchantment fills—

Not then bring back the dread report of death,

    Of eyes to loveliness forever sealed,

Of youth that perished as a passing breath,

    Of love laid waste and agonies untold,

When here in every sweet Canadian field

    Are heaped such treasuries of green and gold!

AS DAY BEGINS TO WANE

ENCOMPASSED by a thousand nameless fears,

    I see life’s little day begin to wane,

    And hear the well-loved voices call in vain

Across the narrowing margin of my years;

And as the Valley of the Shadow nears,

    Such yearning tides of tenderness and pain

    Sweep over me that I can scarce restrain

The gathering flood of ineffectual tears.

Yet there are moments when the shadows bring

    No sense of parting or approaching night,

But rather, all my soul seems broadening

    Before the dawn of unimagined light—

As if within the dark a folded wing

    Were making ready for a wider flight. [page 24]

The Ryerson Poetry Chap-Books

Lorne Pierce—Editor

Number

1.   THE SWEET O’ THE YEAR*

Sir Charles Roberts

5.   THE EAR TRUMPET*

Annie Charlotte Dalton

22. TWELVE POEMS

Esme Isles-Brown

23. SONGS FOR SWIFT FEET

Gostwick Roberts

36. COSMIC ORATORY

“Regis”

40. THE IMMIGRANTS

Marie Zibeth Colman

46. THE AULD FOWK

William P. McKenzie

47. BITTERSWEET

Elsie Woodley

51. TAO

Alfred Goldsworthy Bailey

55. ARGOSIES AT DAWN

Aubrey Dean Hughes

58. THE COQUIHALLA WRECK

Francis Cecil Whitehouse

61. TWENTY SONNETS

Muriel Miller Humphrey

64. RICH MAN, POOR MAN

E. H. Burr

65. UNCERTAIN GLORY

Regina Lenore Shoolman

69. HARVEST OF DREAMS

Frances Ebbs-Canavan

70. THE THOUSAND ISLANDS

Agnes Maule Machar

71. WAYSIDE GRASSES

Peggy Pearce

76. STARS BEFORE THE WIND

Charles Frederick Boyle

Fifty Cents

——————

4.   THE CAPTIVE GYPSY*

Constance Davies Woodrow

7.   THE LOST SHIPMATE

Theodore Goodridge Roberts

14. VAGRANT*

Frederick B. Watt

15. WHAT-NOTS

Geoffrey Warburton Cox

20. THE CRY OF INSURGENT YOUTH

Guy Mason

27. THE POET CONFIDES

H. T. J. Coleman

33. LATER POEMS AND NEW VILLANELLES

S. Frances Harrison (Seranus)

41. THE FOUNTAIN

H. L. Huxtable

56. THE ROSE OF THE SEA

Lionel Stevenson

60. RHYME AND RHYTHM

Sister Maura

66. THE SAINT JOHN AND OTHER POEMS

George Frederick Clarke

73. BLIND FIDDLER

J. E. McDougall

74. MORE ODD MEASURES

William Thow

75. RIVER WITHOUT END

Leo Cox

Sixty Cents

——————

16. OTHER SONGS*

John Hanlon

67. FROM THE WINEPRESS

Murdoch Charles Mackinnon

68. SONGS OF THE WEST AND OTHER POEMS

Marion E. Moodie

77. SONGS

Helena Coleman

Seventy-five Cents

——————

49. THE WANDERER AND OTHER POEMS

Nathaniel Benson

50. UNDER THE MAPLE

Kathryn Munro

57. THE BLOSSOM TRAIL*

Lilian Leveridge

One Dollar

——————

52. THE NAIAD AND FIVE OTHER POEMS*

Marjorie Pickthall

A complete list of these Chap-Books sent on request

    *Out of Print [inside back cover]

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