Herbert Thomas John (H. T. J.) Coleman
The Poet Confides

OF THIS EDITION OF THE POET

CONFIDES, BY H. T. J. COLEMAN,

FIVE HUNDRED COPIES HAVE BEEN

PRINTED. THIS CHAP-BOOK IS A

PRODUCT OF THE RYERSON PRESS,

TORONTO, CANADA.

                     Copyright, Canada, 1928,

                     by The Ryerson Press

[handwritten: To Father from Marion & Edwin

                                                       Xmas ’28]

H. T. J. Coleman, B.A., Ph.D., is Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Science and Professor of Philosophy, at the University of British Columbia. He was formerly Dean of the Faculty of Education, Queen’s University, Kingston, Ont. He is the Author of Education in Upper Canada (1908) and his first Chap-Book, Cockle-Shell and Sandal-shoon, appeared one year ago. [inside front cover]

[unnumbered page]

ERRATA

LOCATION

ERROR

Page 19, 19.1

Quotations added before “FOREVER”

[illustration:

The RYERSON

POETRY

CHAP-BOOKS]

The Poet Confides

By H. T. J. Coleman

ᴥ ᴥ ᴥ

THE POET CONFIDES

SOMETIMES I write with the stub of a pencil

On the back of an old envelope,

Or an odd scrap of paper

That I fish up out of an inside pocket.

And sometimes I write on decent paper

With pen and ink.

But always I write (when I write truly)

With my heart’s blood.

And it is not I that write,

At least it is not the man

Who bears a conventional name,

And sometimes wears evening clothes,

And has a street address and a telephone number,

And is mentioned in Who’s Who.

The one who writes is a very different person,

He has been warmed by the suns of a million summers,

And chilled by the frosts of a million winters,

And gone naked in the jungle,

And followed dim trails through primeval forests,

And suffered indescribable agonies and experienced unimaginable joys,

Before streets or telephones or the banalities of publicity were ever thought of.

No! I am not the person you take me for,

But so different, indeed, that you might not care to shake hands with me if you saw me truly,

Yet I hope you could pity me even if you could not love me,

For I am the soul of man. [page 1]

MY TREE

LATE last fall,

I found, lying by the roadside, a tree

Which some workmen had thrown aside.

They had struck at its roots with a spade

Carelessly,

And then wrenched it from the ground.

And I took the tree

And set it in my garden

Tenderly,

So that the torn roots might nestle in the soft earth

And be healed of their wounds.

And when, this spring, all the other trees had budded and put forth their leaves,

I looked at my tree

And it was still bare;

But there was life in its branches

And in the heart of the brown buds

There were traces of green.

Then I knew that my tree was only resting,

And that in time—its own time—

It would put forth leaves;

And they would dance in the breeze,

And drink of the sunshine and the rain,

And glisten in the light of the summer moon;

And perhaps a bird would come and build its nest in the branches,

And these very leaves would shelter its young.

And I have known men and women

Whose lives have been torn up by roots like my tree,

And set again in alien earth,

And they have looked brown and bare

Even in the springtime,

When others have budded

Into song and laughter,

But they were green at the heart, nevertheless,

And later,

When the roots of their lives had grown again,

They have rejoiced

In the glory of the leaves,

The song of the bird,

The kiss of the sunshine,

And the mystery of the summer moonlight. [page 2]

INTUITION

HOW FEEBLE is man’s hold upon the earth!

    How vast the powers which he must contend

From that strange moment which he calls his birth

    To that strange moment when this life shall end!

And yet to him the springtime suns are dear,

    And the soft rains that waken leaf and flower;

And in the process of the changing year

    There comes to him, perhaps, a glorious hour.

In which it seems all beauty were his own,

    And he the lord of Nature’s wide domain.

No suppliant he; he sits upon a throne

    And dares a royal dignity maintain.

And though the vision fade and he once more

    May hear that these were but imaginings,

He may not be that which he was before,

    For he has seen the secret heart of things.

ᴥ ᴥ ᴥ

A LESSON

AH ME! what sorrow sometimes springs

From undesignèd little things.

One may in an unwitting hour

With heavy footstep crush a flower;

Or may without intent of wrong

Rob a shy wild-bird of its song;

Or, lacking sense or lacking art,

May take the sunshine from a heart

That God had made to beat always

With all the gladsomeness of May.

Ah me! what sorrow sometimes springs

From thoughtless, cruel, little things.

Oh joy! that one may sometimes sow

A joy which he shall never know;

May give some life an added brightness,

May give some step and added lightness,

May comfort give instead of pain,

And bid the song break forth again.

Oh, joy! that God has made it so,

One gives a joy he may not know. [page 3]

GUILD-BRETHREN

IN THE frozen North, in his hut of snow,

    Somewhere beyond Point Barrow,

Aklavatik the Eskimo

    Made out of bone an arrow.

And he scratched a pattern of lines on it

    For reasons he could not tell,

Only it somehow seemed to fit;

    And it pleased him passing well.

Hau Koranna the Hottentot,

    Somewhere below the Equator,

Fashioned a spoon for his porridge-pot,

    Which he gave to a white man later.

And on the spoon, since he had the knack

    And could do the thing in a minute,

He stained a pattern of white and black,

And he found much pleasure in it.

I who sit at my desk and write

    Some verses if it shall please me,

And make them, perhaps, for my delight,

    Or only, that I may ease me

Of longings with which my soul is fraught,

    Do a similar thing I know

To the squares on the spoon of the Hottentot

    And the lines of the Eskimo.

ᴥ ᴥ ᴥ

THE GIFT-BRINGER

WHAT would I ask of Spring but what she gives

Freely to all who greet her as she walks

By woodland, or by field, or city street;

The pulsing of new life by which one lives

Again the springs of other days, and mocks

The solemn years that pass on tireless feet.

Though former springs may not return again

I will be happy with the spring that is,

Smell the faint perfume of the early flowers,

Feel on my cheek the kisses of the rain,

And with the lengthening days know Nature’s bliss

That grows more vocal with the passing hours. [page 4]

The frogs in marshy ponds are now rejoicing

At their release from winter’s cruel sway,

When evening fills the sky their notes I hear.

The birds in morning choruses are voicing

Joy so abundant it must sing always

As if there were no winter in the year.

These are my fellow-revellers, and I,

Who long have waited for their coming, know

I may with them Spring’s gracious influence prove

May sun my soul beneath their kindly sky,

And see while perfumed breezes gently blow

Spring crown herself with beauty and with love.

ᴥ ᴥ ᴥ

SLEEP

WHEN I was a little child

I often lay awake at night

Trying to catch myself going to sleep,

But I never did.

And when I awoke in the morning

I would try to recall

Just what I thought about

Before that wonderful thing happened

Which made the hours of darkness

Seem as if they had never been.

And now that I am grown,

The feelings of childhood

Often come back to me,

And I look curiously

To see the shadowy form of sleep slip through the door,

And I listen for her soft whisper,

And I wait to feel the gentle touch of her hand,

And her kiss upon my forehead,

As I listened and looked and waited

In the long ago.

And I pray that when the dusk of life’s twilight shall gather,

And the sleep that me call death shall hover near me,

I shall await the mystery

With the wonder and confidence

That I knew as a little child. [page 5]

A SHIPWRECKED SAILOR SPEAKS

I SAT an idle hour this afternoon

And watched the tide come in. How patiently

The little waves, beneath the ocean’s urge,

Advanced, receded, then advanced again;

Till rocks that late were bare at length were touched

And then were covered: and the creatures small,

Waiting in crevices the tide’s return,

Now found their world restored to them once more.

And all the while unto my heart there came

The tides of memory, each thought a wave

That, added to its fellows, covered quite

The sense of here and now; and I did pray

That that same Power which kept the changeful sea

True to its daily trysting with the shore

Would somehow bring my world to me again.

ᴥ ᴥ ᴥ

LILACS

MANY the blossoms in my garden showing,

    Now that the welcome spring has come with blessing

Of showers falling, and of warm airs blowing,

    To tempt them forth for the sun’s soft caressing.

Yellow laburnum with its tassels gay;

    The bleeding-heart that tells of lovers’ sadness;

And bridal-wreath, the herald of the May,

    That fills the hearts of all with thoughts of gladness;

The tulips in their stately pride outshining

    The colors which the glowing West discloses.

Though these shall pass there need be no repining,

    Since in a few short days will come the roses.

But I love most of all the lilac bloom

    Of white and purple by my garden’s side

The haunting fragrance of their faint perfume

    Sets all the doors of memory open wide.

And I am then a child without a care

    Within an old-time garden, and the grace

Of springs long past is in my heart, and there,

    Smiling above me, is my mother’s face. [page 6]

THE RIVERS OF EDEN

FOUR rivers flowed out of Eden,

    So we are told;

One compassed the land of Havilah

    Where there was gold.

And of the second the waters

    About Ethiopia flowed,

And the third upon Assyria

    Its gracious gifts bestowed.

The fourth, the Euphrates,

    Eastward and southward ran,

Mother of cities and empires

    Since the peopled world began.

Four rivers flow from the Eden

    Of man’s dream;

Their course is the course of history,

    So it would seem.

The first is the river of hope;

    On its bosom it bears

Stately vessels laden

    With costly wares.

The next is the river of toil,

    Its waters give

Life to herb and tree

    By which men live.

The third is the river of peace;

    Its quiet deeps,

Reflect the quiet stars

    While nature sleeps.

And the last, the mightiest far,

    To all men known,

Is the river of love that flows

    About God’s throne.

ᴥ ᴥ ᴥ

POMPEII

I ONCE did read how where a city stood

In ancient times, men dug and for their pains

Found treasures many. Marble palaces,

Baths, fountains, colonnades, all stood revealed,

And statues in whose beauty, still preserved,

The world might see the beauty that had been. [page 7]

The city had been buried in an hour

By some volcanic outburst which had driven

All its inhabitants in panic flight

To regions where the deadly rain might cease.

Not all escaped, so swift the peril came;

And I recall that in one street were found

Two skeletons, a woman’s and a boy’s,

And careful scrutiny the fact revealed

The boy was lame, the woman had remained

To help him and had perished at his side.

She was his mother, one would surely guess,

And in that dreadful hour when others fled

She would not leave him though she could not save.

The palaces are vacant all, and curious folk

Now view the streets that have been echoless

Nearly two thousand years; and yet there lives

As though the thing had happened yesterday

This witness of a nameless mother’s love.

ᴥ ᴥ ᴥ

HISTORY REPEATS ITSELF

THREE hundred and more years ago,

In the spacious days of Good Queen Bess,

(So we are told)

That interesting lady was one day walking

With her lords and ladies,

And they came to a puddle in the roadway,

And they were greatly nonplussed

For it would never do in the world

For a queen to soil her shoes.

And Sir Walter Raleigh,

Who perhaps had an eye to the main chance

(Though I like to think that had nothing to do with it)

Took his brand-new cloak and spread it before her,

And the problem was solved.

Now I mention this,

Because the other day

I saw this incident re-enacted

Under somewhat different conditions.

He was shovelling earth on a street

That had recently been flooded,

And she stood on the sidewalk

And wanted to get across

To her car that was parked on the other side. [page 8]

And he, seeing her dismay,

Said, “Lady, let me help you!”

Then he said his shovel flat

And she stepped on it

And then to a bit of dry ground;

And they repeated the performance

Till she got her car.

Then she thanked him graciously,

And I did not hear what he said in reply

But he made a sweeping gesture

That would have done credit

To a Spanish grandee.

Then I knew that his name must really have been Sir Walter Raleigh,

Though his fellows called him Pete,

And he looked as if he were a Mexican.

And though she wore horn-rimmed glasses

And had bobbed her hair,

She might easily have been

Queen Elizabeth.

For if that interesting lady (as foresaid)

Were living now,

She would certainly bob her hair,

And perhaps wear horn-rimmed glasses,

And, like as not,

Drive a flivver.

ᴥ ᴥ ᴥ

THE WISH—A SONG

WOULD I might make for you a song to-night

    A song for you alone,

To catch the glory of the pale moonlight,

    The brightness of the sun upon his throne,

The joy that fades not with the passing hours,

    The charm that Nature wears when springtime sweet

Garlands her love, the waking earth with flowers,

    As she passes on viewless feet.

Then I would ask the many-scented breeze

    That wanders the woods among,

Kissing the little leaves on all the trees,

    To give me for my song

An elfin music; so when dreams should rise

    And hover o’er your bed

Like archèd rainbows in the evening skies,

    You would hear and be comforted. [page 9]

LITTLE WATERS

AFTER the rains the little waters run

Beside the roadway sparkling in the sun,

Gushing from every bank and eagerly

Hastening downward to their home, the sea.

In winter-time when briefest days have come

And trees are bare and all the birds are dumb,

And frosty silence rests upon the hill,

They make for me a jubilant music still.

They of the morning’s gladness are a part,

They sing to me as if they knew my heart

Would feel the spring if only it could hear

The sound of little waters running clear.

ᴥ ᴥ ᴥ

THE SAGE-BRUSH

VAST regions have I been seen where little grows

   Within the wide horizon’s limits, save

The sturdy sage-brush and it bravely shows

Its grey-green leaves beneath the burning sky,

   While in its shadow starveling grasses wave

As aimlessly the desert winds drift by.

I wonder if the creatures small that live

   Unheeded lives about its roots, regard

The sage-brush as a mighty tree and give

It worship as the Druids did of old

   The stately oaks that kept their age-long ward

In forests long since crumbled into mould.

ᴥ ᴥ ᴥ

A MEMORY

ONCE we as two children went

    Gathering beechnuts in a wood,

All the ground with leaves besprent,

    All around us solitude. [page 10]

Naked boughs above us hung,

    Bright beyond, the evening sky,

As we searched the leaves among,

    We were happy, you and I;

Happy as the squirrels that ran

    Up and down the tree-trunks old,

Richer with our treasure than

    Fabled Midas with his gold.

Tell me, do the beeches stand,

    Tell me, do the sunsets glow

Still in childhood’s fairyland.

    Thither I would gladly go.

I would gladly cross the span

    Of the years ’twixt now and then,

And where childhood first began

    Gather beechnuts once again.

ᴥ ᴥ ᴥ

THE PROPHECY

THE WEST held naught but cloud and mystery.

    The air with dark blue shadows seemed to fill,

When kindly fortune turned my gaze to see

    A little patch of sunlight on the hill.

For a brief space a wavering bit of glory

    Made radiant the forest’s sombre green.

It told to watching eyes the welcome story

    Eve would be brighter than the morn had been.

Happy the heart that, when the shadows gather

    And little good appears to match life’s ill,

Sees not the heavens dark with clouds but rather

    The little patch of sunlight on the hill.

ᴥ ᴥ ᴥ

THE MESSAGE

ALWAYS the day speaks to my soul

    A message which the night repeats,

“Never mayst thou know the whole

    Of beauty, for she hourly greets

With new wonder and surprise

Those who scan her mysteries.” [page 11]

“Each morning is creation’s dawn

    Each evening sets new stars alight,

The suns of other days are gone,

    To-night is not as yesternight,

Thou hast changed and by that change

All outward things are new and strange.”

“So it shall be evermore,

    Nature is not the same to thee

As Nature was in days of yore;

    And in future thou shalt see

A miracle with each new morn

Because new beauty in thy soul is born.”

ᴥ ᴥ ᴥ

A SONG FOR A GREY DAY

A THIN mist hovers and the rain is falling,

    The night comes early and the days are drear.

But the dark earth listens for a low voice calling,

    “Awake and deck yourself with joy; the spring is here.”

In the woodland shelters the snow still lingers,

    Sombre are the wayside pools beneath a clouded sky,

But the willow-buds have felt the touch of spring’s soft fingers,

    And the greening alders tell their faith that spring is nigh.

The day brings sorrow and the night brings longing,

    And the heart is a-weary of life’s mist and rain,

But listen, Love, listen! to the new hopes thronging,

    Winter soon will end and ’twill be spring again.

ᴥ ᴥ ᴥ

THE BROOM

WHO HAS seen the broom in flower

    By the rocky shore

Has within his heart a dower

    Precious evermore. [page 12]

Who has seen its yellow aisles

    By the roadside stand

Has been sure the gladsome miles

    Led to fairyland.

Who has seen its fairy gold

    On the hillside gleam

Will the sight again behold

    On the hills of dream.

Who has seen the broom in the flower

    In the days of spring

All the year will wait the hour

    Of its blossoming.

ᴥ ᴥ ᴥ

ISLAND MEMORIES

(Deep Cove, Saanich Arm, V.I.)

IN MEMORY I see the tall trees stand

Calm and majestic in the cool of dawn;

I hear, as darkness broods o’er sea and land,

And from the western hills the day has gone,

Deep organ music as the night wind passes;

I feel the touch of spring’s caressing hand,

And scent the flowers in the forest grasses.

And I recall that in that charmèd spot

The sunset glow of summer lavishly

Lays all its rainbow glories on the sea,

Lest beauty be by careless eyes forgot.

ᴥ ᴥ ᴥ

CHAOS AND ANCIENT NIGHT

I SAW this eve in solemn majesty

Chaos that was before the worlds were made,

Enthroned in mists upon a wintry sea,

And near at hand were heavy shadows laid,

A darkness deeper still, and this was Night,

The Ancient night who long with chaos reigned

In time that was before that time began

Within whose narrow limits is contained

All that makes up the little life of man. [page 13]

Then, with the ancient sage I took my place,

And saw the mighty scheme of things unfold,

The spirit brooding on the water’s face,

The primal mists and shadows backward rolled,

Chaos and Darkness in their headlong flight,

At that great mandate, “Let there now be light!”

ᴥ ᴥ ᴥ

THE ANSWER

“ALL THINGS flow; nothing abides,”

    So Heraclitus spake of old;

“And he who thinks that nature hides

    A purpose in her changes manifold,

Has nature’s witness disregarded quite.

    The clouds, the rivers, yea! The solid earth,

The seasons with their months, the day, the night,

    For ever die; for ever come to birth.”

Then answered him Parmenides:

    “Ask not of Nature, she is blind,

Wisdom is not in such as these;

    Ask thou of the Eternal Mind

That sits enthroned within thine inmost heart;

    It is the Truth thy doctrine hath denied,

It is the Whole of which these are a part.

    These might not change if it did not abide.”

ᴥ ᴥ ᴥ

A SONNET

THE THOUGHTS these words of mine would fain convey

Are not at all for merit in men’s eyes;

When darkness falls one sees within the skies

The little stars that shine the night away,

True to their humble tasks, till morning grey

Tells of a brighter star that soon shall rise;

And in its growing light their splendor dies

Yielding its homage to the Lord of Day. [page 14]

No other purpose would my verses show

Than but to shine when all about seems dark

So here and there within the sky may grow,

For souls oppressed with tedious cares to mark,

A point of light which, till their night is gone,

May be to them a promise of the dawn.

ᴥ ᴥ ᴥ

THE PHILISTINE

I DO NOT read modern novels any more;

And the reason is not

That I condemn modern art

In a whole sale fashion,

And think that all the good stories have been told.

It is rather because I have seen life

And have felt its pressure in a thousand ways

Too subtle for words to describe;

And there are so many novels

Locked up in my own breast

That I would rather ponder them

Than the thoughts and acts of men and women

Who sometimes behave like human beings,

But are not human beings as I know them.

For frankness compels me to say

That I do not believe,

As most modern novelists seem to,

That the dirt is more real than the sunshine,

And that love is always an illusion,

And that sex is everything;

For if man is a brute

He is a divine brute

Who will some day outgrow his brutish ways.

This is at least the creed

I would wish to live by;

And might even be willing to die for,

Though dying for a creed is, I know

Somewhat out of fashion nowadays.

And so to certain superior persons I am a Philistine and almost a fool.

Worse than all, I am Victorian;

For some of my stories have happy endings. [page 15]

ANDROMEDA

    Note: Andromeda, daughter of Cassiopeia, was, according to Greek mythology, chained to a rock to be devoured by a monster sent by Poseidon. She was rescued by the hero Perseus, who made her his queen. At her death she was placed in the sky as one of the constellations.

IT WAS your mother’s boast that you outshone

Poseidon’s daughters in your beauty rare;

And so the sea-god, vexed that one should dare

To challenge deity, his anger grown

To fierceness, sent against the hapless land

A monster terrible, who, far and wide,

Carried Poseidon’s vengeance. None might hide,

Much less by strength of arm its power withstand.

So to a rock above the waves they chained

Your tender limbs to check the sea-god’s ire,

Innocent victim of a fate most dire,

For so the mystic oracle ordained.

Then Persus came and the dread monster slew

Who claimed you for its prey, and you he bore

To Argos by the bright Ægean shore,

Made you his queen and gave you honour due.

And when at last you died, Athena gave

A place within the sky to you who stood

Chained to a rock beside the cruel flood

So haply thus you might your people save.

And still remain throughout  the years your charms;

For, as I walk abroad, I see to-night,

High in the southern sky, a line of light

Made by the stars which are your outstretched arms.

ᴥ ᴥ ᴥ

JUNE

In Stanley Park, Vancouver, B.C.

THE RISING tide of life in these long hours

Of brooding calm has reached its full; the trees

Now wear their amplest leafage, and the breeze

Bears all abroad the perfume of the flowers.

The snowy peaks rise clear from the blue haze

That clothes the mountain’s shoulders and the sea,

Wide as the eye can range, smiles peacefully

In happy languor of warm sunny days. [page 16]

June has no need that one should speak in praise

Of all her charms, nor yet her sisters twain

Who follow with her in the stately train

Of months and seasons, for the spell she lays

Upon the sad heart and the unquiet brain

Is woven all of mystery and delight,

The whisper and soft kiss of summer night,

And grateful coolness of dim forest ways.

ᴥ ᴥ ᴥ

SHADOWS

POETS have sung of sunlight-flooded fields,

    Of gold of morn, and radiance of eve;

Of noontide warmth to which the spirit yields

    All sense of care; and yet I dare believe

That shadows have a beauty all their own.

    What soul has not been gladdened by the sight

Of patterns dark in rich profusion shown,

    What time the forest aisles are flecked with light

In morning early or late afternoon:

    Or has not seen with joy the shadows lie

Prone on the level landscape while the moon

    Pale as a ghost hangs in the evening sky?

And who with eyes o’ertasked by too much seeing

    Has not within his heart thanksgiving made

That He who gave the radiant sun its being

    Gave also shade?

ᴥ ᴥ ᴥ

A PRAYER

O LORD, give grace to-night to weary ones,

Who ask, perhaps, no other boon of Thee,

Than just to sleep, and wake to sleep again,

Or rest, perhaps, within some sunlit glade

Where enters not the babble of the crowd,

But where, instead, the voices of the trees

Come as soft music to the tired heart,

As they converse when the morning breezes stir,

Or as, in noontide heats they softly whisper

Secrets philosophers shall never know. [page 17]

The way of life is hard at times for such,

Who crave for joy as plants reach forth for light,

Who lack not courage, for they bear the weight

Of others’ burdens, but who feel the need

Of Nature’s consolations, which are Thine.

O Lord, give grace to-night to weary ones.

ᴥ ᴥ ᴥ

SUMMER NIGHT

THE CRICKET’S song seems faint and far away,

    Yet steadily it falls upon my ear,

Its plaintive burden is the same always

    Nor will it cease until the dawn is here.

What is its meaning I shall never know

    It is, perhaps, a token of love’s spell

And seeks while starlit hours come and go

    Love’s ancient tale of faithfulness to tell.

Or is it that the velvet touch of night

    That hides the world of objects from my view

Brings to his heart such raptures of delight

    As my poor human senses never knew.

Such speculation is but idle guess,

    And yet the cricket’s monotone to me

Is of all voices fittest to express

    Love’s weight of longing and night’s mystery.

ᴥ ᴥ ᴥ

AUTHORITIES

HOW DO I know that spring is here?

Why! less than a short hour ago

A robin on an apple bough

Spoke the word plainly in my ear.

He well deserves believing, you’ll allow;

He surely ought to know. [page 18]

How do I know that spring is here?

A band of wild geese from the blue

Proclaimed it as they sped along.

I paused to note the message clear

Northward they sped on wings so swift and strong.

One could but feel they knew.

How do I know that spring is here?

Each schoolboy has his marbles out;

Each girl her skipping-rope or ball.

They’ve heard the message, never fear,

Their ears were open to the season’s call,

They know what they’re about.

But mostly I believe the sun,

His yellow beams most surely say

Winter is overthrown at last.

The buds are swelling every one.

The flowers in field and wood will follow fast,

Let’s all make holiday.

ᴥ ᴥ ᴥ

VARIATION ON A THEME

“FOREVER” has been written

    A million, million times,

It has been very useful

    To poets in their rhymes.

“Forever” has been spoken

    Quite often, I suppose,

In vows that soon have faded

    Like petals from the rose,

But when I heard you say it,

    It had a meaning new,

It seemed to mean forever

    And not a day or two. [page 19]

And so I use it in a way

    To laws of verse untrue

And yet it’s poetry to me,

    I make it rhyme with “you.”

ᴥ ᴥ ᴥ

THE IDEALIST

“HE is a dreamer,” people say,

    “Who will not see the sun at noon,

But seeks instead the shadows gray

    And the pale radiance of the moon.”

“He is the sort our logic hates,

    He does not heed those stubborn things,

The facts of life, but sits and waits

    To hear the beat of angels’ wings.”

“He looks beyond the commonplace

    —All that we see in man and woman—

And seems to find in every face

    A glimpse of something more than human.”

Yet he is never over much

    Concerned his critics to refute,

Because his soul has felt a touch

    That gives it knowledge absolute.

And Truth is more than lucky guess,

    And Friendship more than idle whim,

And Beauty more than prettiness,

    And Love is more than life to him.

ᴥ ᴥ ᴥ

A MARCH DAY

CHEERFUL and changeable

    Days of Spring,

New life showing

    In everything. [page 20]

Skies of the bluest,

    Then again

Clouds wind-driven

    Bring the rain.

Daffodils shine

    By the garden side

Close beside them

    Violets hide.

March speaks promise;

    April lingers

To touch the hills

    With magic fingers.

Why should my heart

    Not wake and sing

With the cheerful and changeable

    Days of Spring?

ᴥ ᴥ ᴥ

FACES

IT IS a common saying

That no two human faces are alike,

And no doubt the saying is true;

But what strikes me most about the faces of the people that I meet

Is that they are so much alike.

Many are tired looking and furrowed with lines, not of thought, but of care,

And though a thoughtful face may inspire,

A tired face only saddens me.

Many others look merely bored,

As if their owners having sat partly through the show that we call life,

Regret that they cannot go to the box-office and get their money back. [page 21]

But I thank Heaven that there are some faces

That shine with an inner light of humour and understanding and sympathy.

And these brighten my day

Like the smile of the sun

On the May morning;

For they confirm a suspicion I have always held,

That, in spite of appearances,

Life is really worth while.

ᴥ ᴥ ᴥ

TO THE MOON

YOU HAVE looked down in cold serenity

    Upon a barren planet void of life:

And your mild radiance over land and sea

    Careless was cast when land and sea were rife

With promise of the shapes that were to be,

    The growth prolific of the mighty deep,

The grass, the flower and the forest tree,

    And myriad forms that fly and run and creep.

With equal calm you view the creature man

    Who fronts the universe with curious eyes,

And dares with mind unsatisfied to scan

    The farthest star within the farthest skies.

Yet from you shining orb have come the themes

    By poets sung in every land and age.

Your rays have woven magic with the dreams

    Of lovers, long before the crowded page

Of history began; and men have worship given

    And nightly watched to see your splendour grow;

You were Astarte, beauteous Queen of Heaven,

    You were Diana of the silver bow.

To-night there come to me the while you move

    Among the little stars that faintly show,

Longing and loneliness and wistful love,

    Passions these are which you may never know. [page 22]

STARS

THE ROWS of street lamps shining,

    Pearls on a sombre thread,

Are stars of man’s designing,

    God’s stars are overhead.

Man sets his stars a-gleaming

    His little hour to light.

For ages beyond dreaming

    The stars of God are bright.

Without man’s stars to aid me

    My earthly way were dim.

The stars of God have made me

    A shining path to Him.

ᴥ ᴥ ᴥ

THE BUILDER

I LAUNCHED a vessel, unafraid,

Of stout oak and iron made.

“She will stand the storm,” I thought,

“Harm to her can ne’er be wrought,”

Yet her planks have strewn the shore

For a score of years and more.

I set a tiny ship afloat,

Fragile as a paper boat.

Fitted with sails of gossamer,

What should be the fate of her?

She would be a pretty toy

Wind and wave would soon destroy.

Yet she sailed the wintry sea,

Brought my dearest hope to me. [page 23]

I built a house upon a rock,

All the power of time to mock.

Deep were its foundations set,

Massive, wall and parapet;

Yet an earthquake laid it low

Many, many years ago.

I built a castle in the sky,

Out of dream and fantasy,

Shaped it to an idle tune

On a summer afternoon.

It is standing yet, I know,

I can see its outlines show

When the sunset turns to grey.

I shall live in it some day.

1349600 [handwritten text] [page 24]

THE RYERSON POETRY

CHAP-BOOKS

Lorne Pierce—Editor

~~

THE SWEET O’ THE YEAR

By Charles G. D. Roberts

COMPANIONSHIP AND THE CROWD

By W. H. F. Tenny

FORFEIT AND OTHER POEMS

By Kathryn Munro

THE EAR TRUMPET (Out of Print)

By Annie C. Dalton

A VALE IN LUXOR

By. W. V. Newson

THE PROPHET’S MAN

By Geoffrey B. Riddlehough

SHEEP-FOLD

By Leo Cox

THE SHEPHERD OF THE HILLS (Out of Print)

By Agnes Joynes

BY COBEQUID BAY

By Alexander Louis Fraser

TWELVE POEMS

By Esme Isles-Brown

SONGS FOR THE SWIFT FEET

By Gostwick Roberts

ECSTASY AND OTHER POEMS

By Elaine M. Catley

BITS O’ VERSE IN SCOTS

By William P. McKenzie

DESTINY AND OTHER POEMS

By Mary Matheson

Fifty cents

————————

A POOL OF STARS

By Lionel Stevenson

SPRING IN SAVARY

By Alice Brewer

THE CAPTIVE GYPSY (Out of Print)

By Constance Davies-Woodrow

THE LOST SHIPMATE

By Theodore Goodridge Roberts

A BREATH OF THE WOODS (Out of Print)

By Lilian Leveridge

VAGRANT (Out of Print)

By Frederick B. Watt

WHAT-NOTS

By Geoffrey Warburton Cox

TWENTY AND AFTER

By Nathaniel A. Benson

THE CRY OF INSURGENT YOUTH

By Guy Mason

THE POET CONFIDES

By H. T. J. Coleman

Sixty cents

————————

SONGS (Out of Print)

By John Hanlon

OTHER SONGS (Out of Print)

By John Hanlon

COCKLE-SHELL AND SANDAL-SHOON

By H. T. J. Coleman

WAIFS OF THE MIND

By W. V. Newson

Seventy-five cents

————————

PAUL PERO

By R. D. Cumming

One Dollar

[inside back cover]

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