Edwardian and Georgian Canadian Poets



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[handwritten: To Judy,

memories of a war – with love

Lyn Cook

June, 1946]

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Here is

a naked arm of towering oak

clutching the opalescent glow

of winter sundown;

the running footprints of a wild deer

in the snow.

Here is

a crystal fragment of eternity. [unnumbered page]


No singing bells from lofty silver spires

To hymn their going forth,

Unto a sea as fraught with martyrdom
As any Cartier sailed.

No kinfolk gathered upon their knees

To cloak with invocation,

This host of silent shadows moving down

Under the bridge of dawn.

The chimes are calling for these conquerors

Where little children tread,

In innocence of hunger:

The banners of the valiant are unfurled

Wherever prayers are said. [unnumbered page]


Drift of white pinions

On a song

Of cloud and sky and sea,

The haunting fragment

Of some half-remembered

Melody. [unnumbered page]


You need not beg me smile, my dear,

To see you go away,

With promises of safe return

Upon some later day.

You need not bid me lock my mind

To danger that is near,

Now that I scale as others do

The pinnacles of fear.

If I must wait in loneliness

It will not be in night,

For I shall have my lamp of hope

To keep my spirit bright.

I must fly to fields of grief

I shall not go alone;

There will be those that fly with me

Whose wings have turned to stone. [unnumbered page]


There is a crimson place where two roads meet,

Valiant with oak and maple:

Three cottages stand quiet in the sun,

The browning fields lie placid

Dreaming of harvest gone and storm to come,

Where two black crows fly gaunt against the sky.

The bitter fragrance of the marigold

Is on the ragged street,

And cellars smelling sweet

Of apple cider;

Silence is eternal,

And all the world is leaves,

Falling, falling leaves. [unnumbered page]


Etching in silver

On an evening sky,

Wings dipped in vibrant dusk,

Scorning the graying fields of earth

Where swallows fly;

Away, away

To follow down the pathway of the sun

The quiet, lovely footfalls

Of retreating day.

A soaring ecstasy

Weaving its melody

In silent music, chaste as Schumann’s Lied,

A Karsavina dancing “Les Sylphides”.

The darkness reaches up to gather in

The first reluctant star:

This transient hostage to the far

Eternal boundaries of man, wings homing

Through the night,

Leaving its secret singing with the moon

And with the stars, the poetry of flight. [unnumbered page]


So you have left a while the Southern Cross

To fill our skies with thunder of your wings;

Perhaps your own could better bear the loss,

If they could know the joy your presence brings

To us two here. Our evenings on the shore

Of Blue Lake Huron, with the wind and sand,

Have only made us realize the more

The strength and dignity that is your land:

Your journeyings have surely just begun,

Your wing tips yet will brush the stars in flight:

Yours is to seek the dwelling of the sun,

And find eternity beyond the night.

We have no wings to follow: at the best

Our spirits shall fly with you in your quest. [unnumbered page]


I can remember passing here

While daffodils were still asleep,

Now see, the aster burning deep

With longings, tells the turn of year

And I could find it in my heart to weep.

Those days will never come again

When the young spirit that was I

Stood listening, ’neath a summer sky,

To poems whispered by the rain,

To hear the wind go laughing softly by.

Wild geese are calling from the clouds

Throughout the ripe, still autumn day:

My being, once a gypsy gay,

Waits silently within its shrouds;

This crystal moment too will pass away.

Why did I strive with eagerness

To hold all beauty here with me?

For now I know that I shall see

Even this yearning bitterness,

Quietly slip into eternity. [unnumbered page]


Then you must quell each little nameless fear

That haunts the darkened stairways of your mind,

As you go forth to greet another year,

Despairing lest it prove to be unkind.

It is your quietude that pilots me

In safety through a sea of bitterness,

And yours the faith that builds eternity

With strength and beauty garnered from distress:

Your candlelight goes seeking in the night

Of every soul, foundations for belief;

Your listening heart soars high where joy takes flight,

And sorrows with the lowliness of grief.

The spirit singing with this radiant voice

Will surely find its own cause to rejoice. [unnumbered page]


Come lie with me upon the sand

And watch the clouds put out to sea,

Wing with the gulls along the land,

Come lie with me.

Come stride with me along the shore

And hear the grey sandpiper’s cry,

There will be none to catch the sun

But you and I.

The moon’s slim lifted finger there,

Beckons us on to where the free

And quiet stars hold converse with

Eternity. [unnumbered page]


Lost child of sunlight

Smiling here alone,

To hear the bullfrog lift his raucous voice

In song;

How long then,

Till you come unto your own?

Marsh marigolds have left the rushes

For the roses,

In my garden:

Wild iris bloom beside my tulip bed,

And even red, red

Columbine has come down from the hills,

To find the soil is just as sweet

Among my daffodils.

I think you have a kingdom of your own,

Below there,

Where the pool is dark and deep,

And all the lovely things we dream in sleep,

Shadows of hopes, of castles towering high

In Spain, unconquered by the bitterness of time,

Are with you for your keeping.

And so you lift your chalice to the sky,

Spilling your hold

Into the summer sun,

Where no one is to search the wealth you hold

But swooping crane and lonely dragonfly.

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