Edwardian and Georgian Canadian Poets
Poems (Vancouver 1922)

[illustration: For him was lever have at hys beddes heed

Twenty bokes, clad in blak or reed.

Of Aristotle and hys philosophye

Than robes riche, or fithele, or gay sautrye.

Robie Lewis Reed]

The F.W.  Howay and R.L. Reid

Collection of Canadiana

The University of British Columbia

[inside front cover]

POEMS

[illustration]

By J. CLARKE

Published by Clarke Printing Co.

VANCOUVER, B.C.

[unnumbered page]

ERRATA

LOCATION FOUND

ERROR

Page 16, 4.4

“bevelopment” corrected to “development”

[blank page]

     The key to every man is his thought.—Emerson.

     Immediate knowledge is nothing but thought taken in a quite abstract sense.—Hegel.

THOUGHT.

ARE you the master of your fate

To die in poverty or in state?

                   This for you to say.

Spread sail for every breeze.

That sweeps o’er land and sea;

A master mariner must command

                   His ship when out at sea.

If you and I may, perchance,

Be background to the world’s view;

Remember you are as the light

That marks the day and makes the night.

Night is but the background of the day

And bad the hard tone of the good,

And bravery the brother of hardihood.

You are the master of your fate.

Why wait for zephyr’s smile?

Trim down the sail and dig the oar

Deeper and deeper into life’s full core

          Where life in abundance is found.

All things as seen by you

Are changed—if changed the view;

All things are good

If but the word you say

That night shall go—you want the day. [page 3]

     Courage to think about the nature of property and the history of ownership would pave the way for the great revolution against economic privilege now under way; would adjust the rights of persons against those of property and create industrial democracy in place of autocracy. This is why the privileged classes often prefer that man should remain stupid, ignorant and sensuous. Thought is dangerous when once unleashed, for it begins to question. The real menace of privilege is its tendency to substitute anodynes for stimulants.—Arthur James Todd.

THOUGHT.

THERE is no death for those who think,

        And thinking soar beyond death’s pains:

Thought finds thought and welds itself in links,

        Until the world is circled by its chain.

——————

THOUGHTFUL, loving Jesus, Thou wert a man amongst men.

     With the leaven of love Thou didst purge the putrid mass of self adulation and pleasure. That leaven of love (though almost dead at present) still survives, and one day will sweeten the days of life. [page 4]

     See that you understand what righteousness means and set hand to it stoutly; you will always measure your neighbor’s creed kindly in proportion to the substantial proofs of your own.—Ruskin.

ALL CREEDS MUST DIE.

Man must be greater than all creeds,

The earth must nourish more than weeds,

          For weeds alone must die.

The prettiest flower was once a weed,

The greatest tree was but a seed,

          But flower and weed must die.

All are nourished at the self-same breast,

And nature’s laws seem always best

          For man, for plant and beast.

All creeds, all trees, all weeds must die

And from their death a new birth cry

          For ever will be heard.

——————

ERRORS of the past are but first instalments of what we now term truth, paid for at times with the purest blood. [page 5]

     The first reason for all wars and for the necessity of national defences, is that the majority of persons, high and low, in all European nations, are Thieves, and in their hearts greedy of their neighbor’s goods, land and fame.

—Ruskin.

   This might apply to all nations—ED.

     The advocates of war as the great selection of the strong, the vigorous, the brave, seem to forget that the process is negative. War selects men to die, not to live and radiate, or propogate virility and valor. Or it makes them for slow consuming by disease or habitual idleness or debauchery.—Arthur James Todd.

THE GREAT WAR—1914

War is hell, I have no doubt,

But what this hell is all about

          I’d like to know.

They say, ’tis for truth and justice’s sake

To make the old world strangely shake

          And bring about Democracy.

Then hell or war must be the cure

That makes the old road straight and sure

          To the gates of heaven.

If heaven is bought at such a price

When men are nought but rats and mice

          Slaughtered in a trap;

Then give me nought of hell or heaven,

I much prefer some other leaven

          To raise the soul of Democracy [page 6]

     Freedom is found in service. We rule by obeying. This is the liberty of the children of God.

     There is a majestic kinship between duty on earth and the power behind duty.—Boyd Carpenter.

LOVE AND SERVICE.

Lifted from the paths of sordid gain

    I walk in elysian fields and pastures green,

Where perfumes sweet and beauty’s hand adorns

    All things—that every heart may glean.

Raised to the heights of service and of love,

    Self stalks behind, but duty leads the way;

Though roads be rough and long the path I trod,

    I’ve learned to live—though life be but a day.

——————

     Love and hatred, badness and goodness, right and wrong, are inseparably connected, and by pouring a little more of the contents of one into the other they change their relationship—love becomes hatred and hatred love. All are a part of life—part of man—part of our idea of the reflection of God. They are not God, nor are they the whole of man. [page 7]

     If man would find his saviour he must look within and when the demon self has been dethroned the saviour Love will be exalted to the throne of power.—The Aquarian Gospel

     If a man becomes a mere tool to serve the will of another and for the other man’s profit, his freedom is gone and his manhood degraded. Whoever of us can bear to see his fellowmen so used without shame or protest sins against the manhood in himself and against God.

—Rauschenbausch

JUST AS A MAN.

    Just as a man in God’s own light,

    Just as a man in man’s own right

              Would I tread my path.

The darkest hour must closest be to light,

Joy follows sorrow as do day and night;

Fear not the future if to yourself be true,

God asks of man what man now asks of you.

And learning this—with love and hope raised high—

We learn to live and thus know how to die.

——————

     Man as a truly conscious human being is sufficient here below.

——————

     The world and all in it contained is mine if I understand the world—Universe—God. [page 8]

     And then a Mighty Master came, a Buddha of enlightenment, who turned away from wealth and all the honors of the world, and found the Silence in the quiet groves and eaves, and he was blest.

     He preached a gospel of a higher life, and taught man how to honor man.

     He had no doctrine of the Gods to teach: he just knew man, and so his creed was justice, love and righteousness.

—The Aquarian Gospel, by Levi

A MAN.

He was a “man,” the greatest prize earth can bestow,

       Moulded from gold formed from ages past,

       Tried in life’s furnace until at last

                 A man came forth.

Nobly he strove for heights sublime.

       Always giving, no selfish end in view,

       Along life’s pathway flowers of love He strew

                 That lead unto the Cross.

——————

He who can by devils tempted be,

Could—if he would—in himself those devils see.

——————

The steps to heaven extend from the depths of hell, and he who may be on the last rung always has the chance of ascending. If he falls he does not have far to go. [page 9]

     Short is the little which remains to thee of life. Live as on a mountain. Let men see, let them know a real man, who lives as he was meant to live. If they cannot endure him, let them kill him, for that is better than to live as men do.—Marcus Aurelius.

THE ROAD OF VANITY.

WHO am I that I should cry

The wheels of life must turn, must ply

          To gratify my vanity.

Those wheels grind slowly, but exceedingly small,

They grind the King—they grind us all;

          They make small work of vanity.

A better part for a man to play

Is to be a cog in the wheel today

That grinds out justice to all on earth

Regardless of power, station or birth,

          The parting road from vanity.

But if you are the shaft upon which the wheels ply,

If you are one of the many who cry “I am the power!”

Beware! Beware! Lest too late you find

That wheels will turn, will grind and grind,

Though you never were born and none of your kind

          Had trodden the road of vanity. [page 10]

     But it is with man’s soul as it was with nature: the beginning of creation is Light. Till the eye have vision the whole members are in bonds.—Carlyle.

I SEE A LIGHT.

       I see a Light!

       As yet ’tis dim;

But He who led the wise men far

Will lead me to that little star;

       I’ll trust in Him.

       I’ve found the Light!

       Rejoice with me;

The road was rough and dark the way,

At times it looked as if I might stray

       And accursed be.

       No stumbling now,

       My feet are shod

With nails of faith, of hope and love

Hark! ’tis the message from above:

       It is my God.

——————

Deceive not yourself that life shall e’er be perfect,

But that each step leads but to a new desire;

No looking back, no sighing, mourning, weeping,

But onward march—e’en tho’ it be through fire. [page 11]

     Beautiful it is to understand and know that a thought did never yet die; that as thou, the originator thereof, hast gathered it and created it from the whole past, so thou wilt transmit it to the whole future.—Carlyle.

LIFE’S JEWELS.

Life’s precious jewels always lie

Hidden unto the naked eye.

It may be on land or out at sea,

But jewels are there for you and me;

All those who acquire them first pay toll

Exacted from those who prize their goal.

Life’s precious jewels are of the mind,

More highly developed purer the kind.

——————

   

     True contentment lies in the knowledge of one’s duties and performing them according to that knowledge.

CONTENTMENT?

If I could all of life’s secrets unfold,

If life from me could nothing hold;

Think you, would I then contented be?

Or would I, as now, new visions see.

Life here, beyond, or where you may,

Is life or death, growth or decay;

And like the tide—comes and goes—

From whence or whither?—No one knows. [page 12]

Love is the fulfillment of the Law.

Hope springs eternal in the human breast.

ONLY A ROSE

I am only a rose!

But all I have is thine;

I scatter my perfume far and wide

That all may receive if they so decide,

          But many—too many!—decline.

I smile in bud,

I smile again in bloom,

I’m love and hope—the essence of life,

I am to be found in peace and strife;

         Sometimes I’m hard to define.

If not tended with care hatred will spring

From the root of love and forth will bring

A rose of despair instead of Love,

Fed from below and not from above,

          Love is the Rose Divine.

——————

CHRISTMAS DAY.

CHRISTMAS DAY! What a glorious meaning it has and what a message of hope it brings to the conscientious seeker of truth!

     Christ’s Day! The day when the greatest teacher of universal truths was born.

     His teachings seem to have been cast aside in the race for gold, but the only outstanding hope for the world is the acceptance and practice of the great truths for which He stood and for which He gave his life. [page 13]

     The essence of our being, the mystery in us that calls itself “I,” is a breath of heaven: the Highest Being reveals himself in man.—Carlyle.

THE GREAT DESIRE!

YOU ask, O God! My great desire,

The greatest wish my mind can frame.

      The one great aim in life I crave,

      Just one, O Father, before the grave

      Shall clasp me in its cold embrace:

         “To be a Man”—my one desire.

A man like Him, who loved and gave

His life—His thought was but to save.

      Along the pathway men must trod,

      He scattered seeds of a nobler God

         Than man had hitherto known.

I’d like to live a life like His,

I’d like to be a man like Him,

      But can I, if I’m not prepared to say

      “A cross, like His, upon me lay.” [page 14]

     Do the duty which lies nearest thee: which thou knowest to be a duty. Thy second duty will already have become clearer. But, indeed, conviction, be it ever so excellent, is worthless till it convert itself into conduct. Nay, properly, conviction is not possible until then. Doubt of any sort cannot be removed except by action.—Carlyle.

“NONE ARE LOST”

Down the stream of life I go.

From whence and whither do the waters flow?

                    Can aneone tell?

On seas of doubt sometimes I’m tossed,

Often it seems that I am lost,

                   But my barque rides on.

On and onward o’er the roaring waves,

Until I found the thought that saves,

                   The thought that sets us free.

That thought is this: “None are lost,

Though many on seas of doubt are tossed,

                    They’ll find their Haven.

And now I sail in my frail barque,

And shadows may my passage mark,

                    But that thought now leads me on.

Sail on, brave friend, in your boat of life,

Through seas of doubt, of peace, of strife,

                    You’ll find a Haven. [page 15]

LOOKING UPWARD.

KEEP your head up. All inspiration to mankind comes from above the earth. Whilst seeds may develop to some extent from below they depend on light and sunshine for their full development.

     Fill your life with as much sunshine as is necessary for your proper development, but be careful and not crowd out the background to the picture. Without that background of shade and shadows we would not recognize sunshine as such when we see it.

     We see enough of life’s storms with our heads help up without looking for trouble. The advantage of carrying your head sufficiently high is that you will see the rift in the clouds when it first appears, whilst he who does not may not discern the change for some time after the storm is over.

     Life is a study in perspective, depending on your point of view and the state of your mind in correlating the different parts of life.

     Very few men catch more than a glimpse of the wonderful panorama of life, but some have seen sufficient to impress them with the possibilities of projecting a picture for future ages.

     Keep your head up.

——————

KNOW THYSELF is an excellent motto, but when you have succeeded in doing it the undertaker also has an idea who you were. Your neighbor will always assist you in the work if you need his or her assistance. They are likely to know more about you than you do yourself. [page 16]

LIFE’S WHIRLPOOLS.

GLIDING down the stream of life, seemingly safe and secure in my little barque, listening to the songs of the waters,—the same as the melody sung on land, but with different accompaniments.

     The grass is quite green close to the banks of the river, but in the distance I see barrenness. Trees o’erhang the waters, sheltering the inhabitants of the river.

     Seemingly everything is peaceful and harmonious, but suddenly my little vessel is caught in the meshes of a whirlpool and its sides cry aloud from the strain. I lose my serenity and I become another whirlpool in my anxiety for self. I know nothing until another shock strikes my vessel and drives it free of the whirling waters.

     These whirlpools are on land as well as on the waters; they are in the air—in our every day lives. We are seemingly safe in love and happiness, when suddenly it seems we are lost. Those hours of happiness come at full tide, but alas! The tide must ebb and the tide must flow.

     Whirlpools we have had: whirlpools we always will have. When we understand whirlpools we need not fear them.

——————

The laws of nature do not teach us selfishness, but the opposite. We see in all nature the universal law of sacrifice (willingly or unwillingly) for progress and development in death.

     The thoughts and deeds of men survive, but these only for a time, and they again become the mother as it were of more advanced thoughts and deeds. They do not perish, but on and on we build for eternity. [page 17]

GOODNESS when flavored with badness is never in danger of losing its vitality. Try and be a real MAN—leave the wings and the harp stuff alone. A spade in the hand and a willingness to dig the foundation while on earth will help you realize what your future home will be like.

——————

HELL must be the outpourings of a diseased brain, as no sane mind could conceive such a dreadful place. Surely a loving God could not create it. The inferno is not the only hell of man’s origin. If man wants and longs after a just God he has not much time for a hell or the devil.

——————

IF you would appreciate the beauties of life get the proper perspective. If you would drink of the cup of true life be careful of the ingredients of the beverage. Just enough of this and a little of that, with a drop of something not definable. Happiness is a peculiar drink—made up of many mixtures—possibly a few poisons. Mix your own drinks if you know what you want and the strength of each ingredient. If you don’t know, others will mix it for you, and the result may be something least expected. [page 18]

BARNYARD PHILOSOPHY.

     Don’t go looking for eggs when you hear every hen cackle. Some are working a big bluff on you. We should trap-nest a few of the human bluffers.

     Scratch food is a first class egg producer. Human scratch food is a splendid brain producer.

     Cull your flock and give credit to the hen that lays the egg. If we would cull our human non-producers there would be more for the worker.

     Do not breed from runts and poor stock generally. You may get a good chick, but the chances are against you. If the human family would only consider this we would soon have no need for asylums, penitentiaries, etc.

     Do not overfeed your fowl; they become too fat and lazy and will not produce the goods. This in many cases can be said of ourselves.

     Be careful about cleaning your pens and feeding troughs. Keep yourself clean and do not let decay spots show themselves until you must.

     Fine feathers may make fine birds, but the live poultryman is from Missouri and you must prove it by facts and figures. If some of our fine feathered gentry were called to show their hands the majority could only produce a bobtailed flush.

     There are good and bad chicks in every breed irrespective of their color. Apply this to the human family and you will not be far astray. [page 19]

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