Edwardian and Georgian Canadian Poets
Way O’Dreams

WAY O’DREAMS

BY

LUCY GERTRUDE CLARKIN

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DILLON & COYLE, PRINTERS

CHARLOTTETOWN

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IN MEMORY OF MY MOTHER

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     For permission to print these poems I thank Extension Magazine, Ave Maria, Catholic World Magazine, Classic, Canadian Magazine, The Canadian League, and Red and White.
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CONTENTS

CHRISTMAS POEMS

PAGE

His Way

9

Come

10

Unless

11

Only the Shepherds

12

Conversion

13

Where?

14

RELIGIOUS POEMS

My Choice

17

I Come, O Lord

18

Our Comforter

19

Justice

20

The Warrior Soul

21

Wandering

22

The Quest

23

The Toiler

24

A Prayer

25

Refuge

26

The Confessional

27

Forgive

28

Stand Thou Between

29

The Scales of God

30-31

When

32

A Soul’s Awakening

33

Two Preachers

34

The Prayer of Youth

35

The Goal of Dreams

36

Temptation

37

Give Me Clear Vision

38

Christ of the Living Dead

39

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LOVE POEMS

Fulfilment

42

Barred

43

Magic Moonlight

44

Waiting

45

You

46

Love

47

Good-bye

48

POEMS OF MOTHER LOVE

Little Maid O’Mine

51

Muvver’s Ship

52

His Birthright

53

A Mother’s Fear

54

My Children

55

When Baby Died

56

Consolation

57

Destiny

58

OTHER POEMS

By Way of Dreams

61

To My Mother

62

To Mother Blind

63

Tired

64

Beyond

65

A South-west Wind

66

Again

67

Erin and Home

68

Thanksgiving

69

Our Need

70

Prince Edward Island

71

Promise

72

Ireland

73

The Fern Grove

74

From the Ashes

75

Because

76

The Lesson

77

Something

78

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CHRISTMAS POEMS

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HIS WAY

———

He came unsceptered and uncrowned—

          The King of kings;

There stood no armed guard around,—

          No silken things

To robe the world’s Redeemer could be found.

No thundering guns proclaimed His birth—

          No bugle call

Awoke to fear the slumbering earth,

          Or bade to fall

One battlement of human worth.

He came in lowliness to plod

          Our way of fears.

’Mid thorns of pain He walked, unshod:

          He wept our tears—

Died on a cross to save us, God, Our God! [page 9]

COME

———

Is it over a troubled way you go,

          And under a troubled sky?

Have the seeds of your planting failed to grow,

          And the joy-bird passed you by?

Do you shrink from the seeming endless stretch

          Of pain in the waiting years?

Does the shrine of your heart hold an empty niche?

          Do you walk through a mist of tears?

Then come, we shall go where the shepherds went

          In the wake of an angel song:

We shall rest in the calm of a sweet content

          Apart from the jostling throng.

We shall laugh at our dread of the waiting road,

          And the skies all tempest wild.

Come, Weary Heart, we shall cast our load

          At the feet of the Christmas Child. [page 10]

UNLESS

———

We cannot hear His Angels sing—we cannot see His Star,

And, on the Christ-Child’s natal day, how strangely cold we are.

The laughing voices of the world are calling us away.

Ah, we are chasing bubbles and forgetting how to pray.

We prate of “Peace on Earth” who know the madness of unrest,

And leave the faithful shepherd few to greet our Heav’nly Guest.

We give our gifts—our greetings to a worldling silken clad,

And turn from supplicating hands—from faces worn and sad.

Unless we purge our weakling souls from selfishness and sin,

We vainly sigh for rest to come—for peace to enter in.

There is no hope for troubled earth, war-shaken and defiled,

Unless we turn our straying feet to Mary and Her Child. [page 11]

ONLY THE SHEPHERDS

———

Only the shepherds heard that song,

    Grave lowly men of quiet ways,

Who chosen were from earth’s great throng,

    To hear the wondrous hymn of praise:

Not to the monarchs velvet clad—

    Not to the sages seeming wise,

Came any echo of that glad

    Sweet carol from the midnight skies.

To shepherds only—humble men,

    Clean as the wind-swept heights they trod,

The message came, beyond the ken

    Of men who had forgotten God:

And so he shamed our pride of power—

    Our craving for the joys that cease,

When to the poor, that holy hour,

    His angels sang that song of peace. [page 12]

CONVERSION

———

Clad in the armor of an unbelief,

    My soul sent challenge to Eternal Power;

Unrest sought combat—sorrow a relief;

    Blind pride stood upright where the angels cower.

The balm of pleading left a wound unhealed—

    I could not see and did but dare to doubt;

So, robed for war, with bigotry as shield,

    I journeyed forth to probe the mystery out.

I saw no guide, but felt a mighty will

    Compel my steps along a darkened way

Into a cave, where rippling, thrill on thrill,

    Sweet strains of wondrous music seemed to stray.

A voice spoke in my heart, “Here shalt thou find

    That One, against Whose power thine anger cried.”

I found Him, knelt and wept, no longer blind;

    The Infant Saviour smiled and darkness died. [page 13]

WHERE?

———

Where is the peace that angels sang

    Above Judea’s hills?

The balm to heal the wounds of hate—

    The salve for racial ills.

Still ’neath the ruthless heel of power

    The weaker nations fall,

And to the hearts of listening men

    The murdered patriots call.

Where is that peace? The groaning world

    Has had enough of strife:—

Enough of sham that heedless walks

    The gilded halls of life.

Has mercy fled the troubled earth?

    Will warring never cease?

O Holy Babe of Bethlehem!

    Help us to find Thy peace. [page 14]

RELIGIOUS POEMS

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MY CHOICE

———

I do not ask a broad unchanging path

          Down sunny slopes;

Methinks that one must sure Thy guiding hath,

          Who blindly gropes

O’er roughest darkest ways.

I do not ask my shoulders may be free

          Of load or cross;

Were never need of seeking aid of Thee,

          Lord, mine the loss,

And mine the saddest days.

Not like to roses would I have my years,

          To pluck and wear;

But when I know the thorns, and then the tears

          For strength to bear,

Thy wanderer humbly prays. [page 17]

I COME, O LORD!

———

Not through a fear of storm clouds in the sky,

    Nor the white foam upon the ocean’s breast;

Not flying gladly from the sad world’s cry—

    Nor wearied, seeking rest.

I come, and ask no smoother path to tread,

    No lighter burden for my arms to bear;

Fain would I follow where Thy footsteps lead

    E’en though I stumble there.

I come because my soul has sought and yearned

    For stainless love and spotless purity,

And, finding only mockeries where I turned,

    I end my quest in Thee. [page 18]

OUR COMFORTER

———

O Lord, though I be stricken, let me smile!

    Bid not my tears to fall until I creep

Close to Thy wounded feet, where oftenwhile

    I come to weep.

Though drear my life, as drear as dawn-lit strand

    Strewn with the proving of an angry deep,

I crave no human love to understand,—

    Thou’lt know I weep.

Though bloom bereft the path whereon I go,

    Uncheered my memories I dare to keep,

Thou, only Thou, O Banker of my woe,

    Must know I weep! [page 19]

JUSTICE

———

Long years ago Death’s angel came to me

    And said, “Arise! the Master calls for thee;

Speak thy farewell to earthly walks tonight,

    Prepare to stand this instant in God’s sight:”

But I, just laurel-crowned, made answer low,

    “O Death, be merciful, I cannot go!”

Later, with Fame’s dead laurels strewn around,

    And cherished idols shattered to the ground,

With heart strings torn and quivering in pain,

    I prayed Death’s angel to return again.

“O Come,” I said, “I’ll ask for no delay,

    But glad of rest, go questionless today!”

God’s justice sent this answer to my tears,—

    “Live in atonement for thy wasted years.” [page 20]

THE WARRIOR SOUL

———

A messenger came from God one day,

    And two souls sped from the earth away;

One, young and white, with untainted wings,

    Who knew of men but the purest things,

Had flown aloft with unfaltering speed.

    Ah! Heaven was hers by right indeed.

The other lived and had borne a part

    In the darkest crimes of the world’s mad mart:

Had fallen oft into sin and grime,

    But as often knelt in his shame and crime

At the wounded feet of the stainless One,

    And wept hot tears for the wrong he’d done.

’Twas a bitter fight through the weary years,

    And his pinions drooped ’neath a weight of fears.

Earthly ones who had known of each,

    Judging the actions their eyes could reach,

Seeing a saint in the sinless child,

    And deeming the other a thing defiled,

Half spoke, at the sound of the funeral knell,

    “A soul for Heaven, and one for Hell.”

They did not know, in the realms of light

    Where each stood clear in the Father’s sight,

Robed in the peace of undying calm,

    Their voices echoed the same sweet psalm;

The warrior soul, all scarred by strife,

    Had won, as the child, Eternal life. [page 21]

WANDERING

———

If Thou could’st think of me, Dear Lord!

    As just a lonely, helpless child

Lost in a night-wrapped wilderness,

    Where wild things howl and thorns grow wild;

Then Thou could’st turn in tenderness

    And stretch forgiving arms to me;

Dear Lord! I did not mean to go

    So far away from peace and Thee. [page 22]

THE QUEST

———

I sought on snow-crowned mountain peak,

    And on the burning plains:

On crowded city streets I sought,

    In fragrant country lanes:

I sought on ocean, tempest wild,

    On sea of fairest calm;

Yet, never rest repaid my quest;

    And earth refused a balm.

One day, beside a shell-wrecked trench,

    Where tireless bullets sped,

’Mid moaning men, and groaning men

    Whose every hope had fled,

When Death, God’s healing angel, came

    Across the crimson sod,

My quest was done,—my soul had won

    “Unto the Peace of God.” [page 23]

THE TOILER

———

In merry jest and laughter sweet—

    With eager glance and lilting song,

In shim’ring silks and dancing feet,

    They pass the beaten road along.

Unburdened, free—they hold they way,

    I, laden down and travel worn,

Must walk the broken sod each day,

    Unshod, my garments stained and torn.

Strange, rebel yearnings stir my blood:

    I, too, would sing a merry lay—

Would spurn the path of stones and mud,

    And put my irksome load away.

Nay! let them pass—the laughing train.

    I, craven hearted, may not flee

From One who walked the way of pain—

    Who bore a cross and died for me. [page 24]

A PRAYER

———

Let my dark hours be dark for me alone,

    Nor shadow other lives that I hold dear.

Let me in laughter cloak each useless moan,

    And make my little world a world of cheer.

Teach me to turn my every hurt and pain

    Into white blooms of tenderness for Thee.

Teach me to make each earthly loss a gain,

    And, do I fail, be patient, Lord, with me. [page 25]

REFUGE

———

No bird with broken pinion, in the grip

    Of mighty winds, above a raging sea,

Seeking the refuge of a homing ship,

    Hath greater need of it than I of Thee.

No fleeing deer, beset by hounds and gun,

    Seeking with frightened feet a sanctuary—

Almost exhausted, wearied and undone—

    Hath greater need of it than I of Thee.

No lamb astray on night-wrapped mountain wold,

    Fearing an ambushed foe in every tree,

Seeking in aimless way the distant fold,

    Hath greater need of it than I of Thee.

Now torn and broken in the clutch of pain,

    Beset by wild desires I try to flee

Lord of the folded sheep! I stray again,

    And past all telling is my need of Thee. [page 26]

THE CONFESSIONAL

———

Bleeding and bruised, a straggler from Life’s fight,

Harassed by unseen foes that never cease;

Lured by the wrong, and battling for the right,

I come to Thee for courage, Prince of Peace.

For just a little while let me forget

The conflict waiting, and the field unwon:

The seeming petty cares that jar and fret—

The fears that haunt me—and the tasks undone.

In Thy sweet and pity heal the wounds I bear,

And with Thy pure love, robe the soul of me,

Then, forth again to combat let me fare,

Renewed in strength that comes from only Thee. [page 27]

FORGIVE

———

Lord, when I turn my face away from Thee

    To earth’s alluring things,—’tis often so,

When pleasure’s siren voices call to me,

    And I make haste to follow where they go—

                      Wilt Thou forgive?

Lord, when I fail to see Thee in Thy poor,

    Or fail to hear Thee in a moan of pain;

When I forget the pain Thou did’st endure—

    And I must die in Thee to live again—

                      Wilt Thou forgive?

Lord, I am weak, as helpless as a barque

    Without a helm, upon a storm-tossed sea:

Thy love alone can guide me in the dark—

    Thy love recall my sin-wrecked soul to Thee,

                      Thy love forgive. [page 28]

STAND THOU BETWEEN

———

Dull-grey the yesterdays—today

           Joy calling me

To go along a sun-lit way

Where hopes return and dreams delay

           In ecstasy.

All that my life had craved to hold—

           My heart desired,

Await me on the road of gold;

(The path I tread is rough and cold

           And I am tired.)

Yet, go I there, sin goes with me,

           Though fair of mien,

I dare not hear—I dare not see

O God! my strength must come from Thee,

           Stand Thou between. [page 29]

THE SCALES OF GOD

———

Still quivering from the touch of Death,

    Two spirits knelt at Heaven’s gate,

And waited while an angel scanned

    The Book of Fate.

“Why should’st thou seek to enter here?”

    The white-winged angel questioned one:

“Thy book will tell,” the answer came,

    “What I have done.”

“Yea, with the gold that came from God

    Thou did’st build up a gleaming shrine,

Earth’s scroll of fame recorded that—

    Earth’s praise was thine:

“But when thy noble thought was born,

    And I would write the offering planned,

Pride came, and struck the willing pen

    From out my hand.”

“Depart, the stainless enter here!—

    And thou awaiting, what of thee?

What is thy passport to the realms

    Thou fain would’st see?”

“Alas, I bring my empty hands,

    I merit nothing-much I fear.”

“List,” said the angel with the Book

    “’Tis written here [page 30]

“That thou did’st give unto thy God

    Unquestioning faith—unfaltering trust,

And in His name did’st gladly share

    Thy meagre crust.

“Behold! the portals swing for thee,

    Enjoy thy rest – accept thy crown.”

Thus love shall live, though Time must sweep

    Earth’s temples down. [page 31]

WHEN

———

When in your sleeping thoughts, and in your waking,

    The call of distant places comes to you,

While on a barren way, your soul is making

    A noble battle for the pure and true.

When hot rebellion sends you, white and shaken,

    With eager feet to seek the fairer way,

And then, by heavenly impulse overtaken

    You’ve turned again to fight another day.

When you are tired of pain, and sick with longing,

    And blinded by the tears you must not weep;

When o’er your heart old dreams—old hopes come thronging

    Back from the years that you had deemed asleep.

When the relentless patience you have crushed them,

    And made no useless moan for what has been;

When wild desires awaken you have hushed them,

    By God’s own mercy, you have conquered—then. [page 32]

A SOUL’S AWAKENING

———

And Thou wert near me all along the way—

    Wert close beside me when I culled life’s flowers;

Did’st guide my footsteps in each happy day,

    And wait unnoticed through the shining hours,

                          O loving God!

And Thou wert near me when earth’s sweetest song

    Stole, all unquestioned, to my gladdened life:

Thy voice came faintly through the shouting throng,

    And I went peaceful ’mid the common strife,

                          O Tender God!

O Thou wert near me and I did not know—

    Wert close beside me and I had no care:

And, all untroubled by a human woe,

    Paused not to ask if Thou wert waiting there,

                          O Patient God!

And now within the shadow of my tears—

    The moans and pain of my Gethsemane,

    The tender pity of Thy face I see,

While wide before me stretch the lonely years,

                          O God! My God! [page 33]

TWO PREACHERS

———

A great man preached to brilliant throngs

    Where incense rose in cathedrals dim;

His voice was as sweet as well loved songs,

    And men were wild in their praise of him:

But never a burdened heart had wept

    Its tale of pain at the preacher’s feet,

O’er the light of his glory shadows crept,

    For he knew that his work was incomplete:

But the world knew naught of a man who preached

    In a humble church, to a humble few,

He had no force save the love that reached

    From his own great heart to the hearts he knew:

And many a toil-worn hand he pressed

    That groped to him from the darkest woe;

Ah!  many a wayward one he blessed,

    And he knew the peace that the faithful know.

The first man preached that his words might live

    When his bones were white ’neath the churchyard sod;

The other gave what he had to give

    To the living men, and he preached for God. [page 34]

THE PRAYER OF YOUTH

———

Through untried ways across the future years,

           Through heart pangs yet to be,

And in the misty night of falling tears,

           Help me to follow Thee!

Through dreary roads and passes in my life—

           Through snares I may not see,

And in the wars to come and through the strife,

           Help me to follow Thee!

’Mid briars and thorns when struggles may seem vain,

           And I would turn and flee,

Teach me to patient wait in all the pain;

           Help me to follow Thee!

Through every hour, through all the woe and fear,

           Dark now, unknown to me,

Guide, O my God! and be in mercy near,

           That I may follow Thee. [page 35]

THE GOAL OF DREAMS

———

If you have built, in youth’s unclouded morning,

        A wond’rous city of exultant dreams;

Before the cold world could hurt you with its scorning,

        And ere you tasted of its poisoned streams.

And if, Ah! if your dream-built city crumbled,

        As ardent, eager, you had entered there,

And to your stricken spirit, stunned and humbled,

        There came the first forebodings of despair.

If now, bereft of dreams, and vision haunted,

        You face a desert future, grey and wan;

Robbed by the years of all you sought or wanted,

        Urged by a wild desire to hurry on:

Look to yourself, that in the long, cold, marches,

        To duty, somber duty, you be true.

Eyes to the Goal, where God’s blue heaven arches—

        Beyond the clouds your City waits for you. [page 36]

TEMPTATION

———

O Heart of Jesus! there are storms around me,

    My ship goes blindly through an angry sea:

Defiant, unprepared, the tempest found me;

    Now, Father, Father, I have need of Thee!

Dispel the awful shadows that enfold me;

    The fears that throng and will not be denied.

I perish, Lord, without Thy hand to hold me;

    Alone I cannot battle with the tide.

Oh! calm the winds, and bid the waves to slumber,

    And clear the mist of tears that hides the shore.

In storms to be, whate’er may be the number,

    Strength of the weak, be with me evermore. [page 37]

GIVE ME CLEAR VISION

———

Give me clear vision, Lord, that I may be

    Wise to the beauty of my common way:

Responsive to sweet woodland minstrelsy,

    And eager for the faring of each day.

Give me the heart-wisdom, Lord, that I may speak

    The fitting word that sorrow yearns to hear.

Oh! make me strong to battle for the weak;

    And fearless in the face of lurking fear. [page 38]

CHRIST OF THE LIVING DEAD

———

You may garland your church with lilies,

    Or carpet the aisles with gold:

You may tone with deep-voiced organ

    That story the ages told;

But, unless in your soul’s dim places

    You have sorrowed and wept alone,

You are like to a sentry guarding

    His tomb and the sealing stone.

Not yet have you known His sweetness—

    Not yet have you glimpsed His power;

You are only a heedless hireling

    On watch for one little hour.

You must vision the Cross that bore Him,

    And walk where He bleeding led,

Before you can give true homage

    To Christ of the living-dead. [page 39]

LOVE POEMS

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FULFILMENT

———

Soft fire of the sun and a wind-beaten sea;

    Weird lure of the mid-summer moon;

Sweet incense of clover abloom on the lea,

    And the rose-fragrant hedges of June.

Heart-call of the spring, and the rhythm of rain,

    Clear lilt of a lark in the blue;

World raptures that thrill me again and again,

    Are merged in the rapture of you. [page 42]

BARRED

———

’Tis not for us, Dear Heart, that luring walk

       Across the sunny slope;

There, only happy lovers stroll and talk,

       Dream blissful dreams, and hope.

We may but stand beyond the gates that bar,

       And gaze with eager eyes;

We may but scent the blossoms from afar,

       For we are old and wise.

But Oh! to go, hand clasped in hand, once more

       Adown the way of youth;

To see no shadows on the path before—

       To deem the world all truth.

To feel the golden calling of a morn,

       The springtime and the rain;

To know the rapture of a love new-born,

       Oh! to be young again. [page 43]

MAGIC MOONLIGHT

———

O, the heart—the gypsy heart of me is roving

    Where the moonlight cuts a pathway through the fen:

O, the heart—the fickle heart of me is loving

                        Once again.

Sweet, I banquet on the odor-laden breezes,

    Soft I warble to the music of the pines.

O, the magic of the moonlight! Wisdom ceases

                        When it shines.

All the world becomes a white road winding nowhere—

    All its sorrows are the shadow of the leaves.

Drink the opiate of care, O Grieving Heart, go where

                        Nothing grieves. [page 44]

WAITING

———

Winds from the west and winds from the south

    Caressed the shining grain;

Tall ships came in at the harbour’s mouth,

    And laden, went again;

The scented fern and golden-rod

    Have lived and died on the paths we trod.

The smiling blue of the sky has turned

    To frowning sullen grey;

White storms have passed, and hearth fires burned

    Since you have gone away.

Come back o’er the verdant hills, and bring

    To my arid life, the gladdening spring. [page 45]

YOU

———

The laughter of you is the lilting of birds

    Attune to the harp of the spring;

Your voice has the lure of a lark’s when he soars,

    The dew of the morn on his wing.

The amber and gold of an autumn wood

    Bejewel the braids of your hair;

And your eyes are the shadowy blue of the sea

    When the calm of the dawning is there.

Your grace is the grace of a gull when he sweeps

    To his ride on the slope of a wave,

And your love, Ah! your love is the hearth-fire aglow

    To welcome—to comfort and save. [page 46]

LOVE

———

Like dreams the years had come to me,

    Like dreams the years had gone;

Until you called to me, and I

    Awoke to follow on

A path of shadow and of sun

    Where laughter, pain and tears are one. [page 47]

GOOD-BYE

———

We go that way no more, Dear,

    The latest word is said,

That fragrant meadow-path behind,

    Divides for us ahead,

And all the flowers of summer hours,

    Are dead, Dear Heart, are dead.

We go that way no more, Dear,

    The summer birds are flown;

Our clasping fingers fall apart,

    Alone, we go—alone;

And in the tears of barren years

    Perhaps we may atone. [page 48]

POEMS OF MOTHER LOVE

[page 49]

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LITTLE MAID O’MINE

———

O, loiter on the dream-hedged way,

        Dear little Maid O’Mine;

Laugh well in this thy laughing day—

        Be comrade to the joys that stray

Along this path of thine.

I, too, have known the wizard hours,

        Dear little Maid O’Mine;

Have danced like thee in sun and showers—

        Known magic moon and shady bowers,

And quaffed youth’s sparkling wine.

Ah, linger where the way is fair,

        Dear little Maid O’Mine;

Untouched of pain—unweighed of care:

        God knoweth what is waiting there

Beyond this path of thine. [page 51]

MUVVER’S SHIP

———

I’m goin’ to have a great big farm

        Wi’ calves an’ pigs an’ things,

An’ cows wi’ really truly horns,

        An’ hens wi’ fevver wings.

I’ll take my horses to the race,

        An’ every time they’ll win;

I guess I’ll be a farmer man

        When Muvver’s ship comes in.

I’m goin’ to have a shiney car

        The purry-purry kind,

An’ when I get agoin’, bet

        I’ll leave some dust behind.

An’ almost every day I’ll take

        My Muvver for a spin,

I hope she won’t be busy when

        That ship of her’s comes in.

She’s awful, awful tired I know,

        Sometimes she hugs me tight

An’ says, “O Son, I wish our ship

        Could bring us Dad tonight!”

An’ then to blink my tears away

        I try wi’ might and main,

Because since Daddy died, no ship

        Can bring him home again. [page 52]

HIS BIRTHRIGHT

———

Don’t call him away too soon, he dwells

        In a land that is strangely fair;

For bandit caves, and fairly dells,

        And armored knights are there.

Don’t call him away from the things that seem

        To the things that really are:

Let him romp on the slopes of his magic dream

        With never a fence to bar.

Don’t call him too soon to the shadowed ways,

        Let the heart of a boy be free,

Let him carry the sun of his joyous days

        To the gloom of the years to be. [page 53]

A MOTHER’S FEAR

———

Oft times I am afraid, when warm

       Soft fingers hold mine trustingly,

That I may turn and flee a storm—

       Or lack the strength they see in me.

I am afraid the faltering feet

       That walk so close to mine today,

May follow on through chill and heat:

       O God! let me not go astray.

I am afraid when their dear eyes

       Of sinless faith look to my own,

That they may see how sorrow-wise—

       How tainted by the years I’ve grown.

Oh! I would give them, shining white

       As lilies, back into Thy hand;

But Father, Father, in Thy sight

       How does their mother stand? [page 54]

MY CHILDREN

———

If I could set their feet within

          A joyous way,

Give moon to light each night for them,

          And sun each day—

Give flowers to bloom, and birds to sing

          Their hours away.

Could I give them life’s wine without

          Its dregs of pain,

And turn each loss that I have known

          Into their gain,

Could all my joy without its tears

          Be theirs again.

I would not give it them; their way

          Adown the years,

Must wind through shadowed days,

          And nights of fears,

That they may know God’s comfort

          In their tears. [page 55]

WHEN BABY DIED

———

Oh! cold. sweet fingers that I kissed

          And held within my own!

Dear little form that clung to me,

          Then went away alone!

E’en though I knew our God was there

          To claim thee as thy death,

I could but hear thee moan, Dear Heart,

          And watch thy troubled breath.

I knew thy sinless, weary soul

          Was glad indeed to go;

But I can only think of thee

          Beneath the cruel snow.

O Baby, in the Land of Joy

          Thou canst not know my pain;

And I would lack in mother-love

          To wish thee back again.

Back to a world that gives us but

          The strife of days and years,

Yet I must weep in loneliness;

          May God forgive my tears. [page 56]

CONSOLATION

———

Oft times does this imperfect flesh rebel

          Against its pain;

Patient I strive to be, yet often tell

          My Rosary in vain,

Until my soul awakens and I see

          Our stricken Lord in His Gethsemane.

And often times I fear I go the way

          I went before,

I know the anguish nearing, and each day

          I dread it more,

Until my soul awakens, and I see

          That Baby Jesus hold His arms to me. [page 57]

DESTINY

———

Sweet with the lure of cities came a call

    That I had anxious sought, one distant day;

My heart, long sluggish, quickened to recall

    The lofty dreams of life’s unshadowed May.

I put aside the garment that I wore,—

    The homely household tasks that I had planned;

Yet, though I turned with eager steps to rove,

    Love held me captive with one dimpled hand. [page 58]

OTHERS

[page 59]

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BY WAY OF DREAMS

———

’Tis always sunlight when I dream,

          Though waking skies be grey:

My soul, unfettered as a lark,

          Soars gladly on the way

That leads to Isles of Rosy Youth,

          Where Love and Laughter stray.

I leave my wearied body where

          The rain is falling down,

I close my tear-dimmed eyes upon

          The streets of Sorrow-Town,

I cannot hear a bitter word

          I cannot see a frown.

I race the singing breezes to

          A hill-top’s golden glow,

A beauty of deathless years

          Has touched the blooms I know,

And Peace is ruler in that land

          Where I may, dreaming, go. [page 61]

TO MY MOTHER

———

’Tis a joyous end to a weary road,—

When, out of the night, we win

To the rest, and ease of a lifted load,

In the warmth of a kindly inn;

Tired limbs refreshed, and the stone-bruised feet,

And the heart soothed now from pain—

Ah! who would turn from a rest so sweet

To the long, dark road again?

And so, Dear Mother of mine, you rest,

Sheltered in perfect peace,

You have reached the goal of your long, brave quest

Where the soul’s deep yearnings cease.

Patient you followed a shaded way,

Where the feet of the holy trod;

Now ever and ever you’ve gone to stay

A guest at the Inn of God! [page 62]

TO MOTHER BLIND

———

(On Her Eighty-Second Birthday)

Are you tired of the road your feet have trod

For a four-score years and two?

Mother of Mine, do you yearn for the peace

Of the City that waits for you?

Do you see them ajar—it’s golden gates—

In the dark of a sleepless night?

Ah! sweet is the end of the path for you,

Who followed the trail aright.

You have bled from the pricking thorns of life,

And culled its fragrant flowers;

You have known the sun of its joyous days,

The rain of its anguished hours;

And, since God in his wisdom, veiled from your eyes

The light of the passing day,

Oh! look to the gleam of the shining spires

Of the City “across the way.” [page 63]

TIRED

———

When I rebellious grow—when I would turn

    From this dull, changless pathway set for me,

Within my arid soul, O God! I yearn

    To win the hills of laughter—to be free!

When sounds for me, in every song-bird’s note,

    The plaint of visions faded—dreams denied,

My tired heart yearns to every cloud afloat,

    My fighting heart to every storm-swept tide.

When fragrant breezes call to vagrant ways

    Where somber duty fails to follow me,

Hold—hold me, God! in this and all my days,

    Lest in the mood of cowardice I flee. [page 64]

BEYOND

———

Though we see no gleam of golden spires

       Of the City we hope to win,

No cheering sight of the warming light

       That softly glows within:

Yet ever, and ever it waits for us

       At the end of the winding trail,

With a promise of peace that cannot cease,

       A love that cannot fail.

Though we bend ’neath the weight of the cross we bear,

       Or moan in a long night’s pain

Awaiting the deep, and the dreamless sleep

       That brings not morn again;

Rejoice, ’tis the burden bravely borne,

       O’er the thorns of a troubled way,

That wins to the rest of our eager quest

       At the end of the wary way. [page 65]

A SOUTH-WEST WIND

———

O wooing wind! wild wooing wind—

    I lift my face to thy caress,

How soothing is thy tenderness!

    Forth would my prisoned spirit flee—

Across the sun-tipped hills with thee,

    And gladly leave the years behind.

Thou art the sparkling wine of youth—

    Ambitions wild, ecstatic fire—

The stirring of a pure desire.

    The soul—the very soul of me

Is shriven by the tough of thee,

    And I am nearer God in truth. [page 66]

AGAIN

———

The sunset’s glow shall crown the distant hill,

    And robe in gold again the dark’ning sea,

And murmuring trees grown shadowy and still

    Again shall deepen into mystery.

Again the “training torches” of the moon

    Shall light a pathway through yon silent grove;

And, sweeter than the glory of the noon,

    Shall fragrance lure some other feet to rove.

Again some heart—some world-sick heart—shall know

    This wondrous healing, in some other day:

And finding peace again, unfearing go

    Back to the horror of a desert way. [page 67]

ERIN AND HOME

———

’Tis little I care for the joys round me beamin’

    The dearland—the home land, is callin’ to me:

And away are my thoughts where the green hills are gleamin’

    In a little old cabin o’er looking the sea.

Now, why do they tell me to smile and forget them—

    The green sunny valleys—the mountains and streams?

Sure, they never have known, and they cannot regret them,

    The homes of my dearest I see but in dreams.

Then what would I give, Mother Dear, just to kiss you,

    To hear your “God’s blessin’ be with ye, Asthore,”

And in fancy a whisper comes, “Colleen, I miss you,

    Come back to the old love and Erin once more.”

O yes, I will come, and we’ll never be parted;

    Lonely the hours are away o’er the foam,

If I should die, for I’m nigh broken-hearted,

    Angels will bear Nora back to her home. [page 68]

THANKSGIVING

———

I thank Thee, Lord, that Thou did’st set my feet,

    Within a path that is secure and sweet.

Not high above where fame and gold make strife,

    Nor yet amid the darkest things of life.

But just between where I can plainly see,

    How hateful either path had been to me.

The glare of gold draws thought of envy near,

    And fame must feel the bitterness of fear.

And in the way below so many know,

    The pangs of hunger and the weight of woe.

So I must thank Thee Lord that now I hold

    This path midway between distress and gold. [page 69]

OUR NEED

———

I do not pray for power, O Lord,

    Peace sweeter is than right to sway,

And, though I walk a rugged path,

    I ask not for a smoother way.

I do not pray for wealth, O Lord,

    A burden for the soul to dread;

Nor fame, it is a worthless thing

    When all our years of life are fled.

But give me this, the love that turns

    To aid the straying feet behind,—

That lifts the load of fellow man—

    O God of pity! make me kind. [page 70]

PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND

———

Thou’rt loved alike of sun and sea,

    Of shadowy night and glowing noon;

The smiling stars are kind to thee,

    Thou’rt robed in beauty by the moon.

Blow winds of east—blow winds of west,

    No matter what the wind may be;

Thou’rt lulled all tenderly to rest,

    Beloved of sun—beloved of sea.

Calm twilight waters mirror back

    The mystic trees that guard thy shore,

And specks of gold from nature’s sack,

    The fire-flies flitter o’er and o’er.

Peace waits beside thy woodland trails,

    And joy beside thy forest streams.

Some wizardy of thine unveils

    The road—the golden road of dreams. [page 71]

PROMISE

———

Again the wooing sun shall come

       Within our garden ways,

And Spring repeat the stirring call

       Of joyous yesterdays:

Again shall tulips bravely smile,

       And lilac hedges glow,

And later by the lattice fence,

       Shall crimson roses blow.

Beyond, ’mid fragrant orchard boughs,

       Shall warblers gaily sing,

And incense breezes bear aloft

       The breath of blossoming.

Ah, do not let our weeping dim

       The beauty of the sky—

Our sorrow bid the call of Spring

       To pass unheeded by.

There’s healing—God’s own healing, in

       The sun, the wind, and sea,—

In verdant open spaces and

       In forest minstrelsy.

As earth is richer—sweeter for

       The snow-bound days she knew,

So pain may blossom into joy,

       Perchance for me and you. [page 72]

IRELAND

———

Land of the Faith that holds me safe in the stress of years—

The Faith that my father’s fathers bought with their blood and tears,—

I, though a vagrant poet, beggar of word and phrase,

Warmed at the fire of thy courage, sing thee a song of praise.

Stripped of thine ancient splendors, robed in the red of pain,

Thy children dying of hunger, thy fearless defenders slain.

Ever thine eyes looked upward, never thy proud form bowed,

And never, O Queenly Ireland, thy captors found thee cowed.

Will the world that has wept for Belgium look to thine old, old pain?

Will the justice of earth awakened, unshackle thy limbs again?

Shall we hear thee a nation speaking, in the years that are yet to be?

O Ireland, unconquered Ireland, I glow in the pride of thee! [page 73]

THE FERN GROVE

———

Oh, could I for the space of one brief day

    Roam through the perfumed shadows of yon grove,

Uncaring, could I put my cares away—

    Unshackled and unburdened might I rove;

Freed from world pain—a child again to learn

    The healing sweetness of the wood-land fern.

Could I for just a little while forget

    The tasks that hold me captive in the years;

Remembering not to yearn, nor to regret;

    Unhurt by coldness, and unswayed by tears,

And tread again the path that once I trod

    In happy childhood, side by side with God. [page 74]

FROM THE ASHES

———

Not till the fires of youth have burned

           To ashes of regret,

Man makes the prayer he sinning, spurned:

           “O God, let me forget!” [page 75]

BECAUSE

———

A somber sky and barren grove,—

    Storm beaten trees, so gaunt and drear,

They shadowed all the dream I wove,

    Till, somewhere, from the branches near,

There came a robin’s note of cheer.

Brave bird! and what a coward I,

    To have forgotten hope and spring;

I put my sad dream-shuttle by,

    And wove the joy of everything,

Because the bird essayed to sing. [page 76]

THE LESSON

———

Oppressed and saddened by the care

       That shadowed me from day to day;

Rebellious that I had to bear

       Such weight of pain along life’s way:

I looked not left—I looked not right,

       Nor up. Perchance the skies were blue;

If roses bloomed for my delight,

       I passed them by, and never knew.

’Till from a by-path near, I heard

       A voice that sang to hide a moan;

I found,—deep shame within me stirred,—

       A greater sorrow than my own. [page 77]

SOMETHING

———

It might have been the west wind

       That woke the sleeping pain;

Perhaps a way-side blossom,

       Or a lightly whistled strain,

But something, scarcely seen or heard,

       A half-forgotten longing stirred.

It might have been a robin:—

       Perhaps it was the rain

That, sweet with April’s promise,

       Tapped on the window pane;

But something brought that old unrest—

       That memory of a rainbow quest.

It might have been the fragrance

       Of bloom-tipped orchard ways,

that called the lilting laughter

       From joyous other days,

But something—something vague may bring

       Our hearts to sigh—our hearts to sing. [page 78]

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