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An Impromptu
(2 August 1862 – 19 December 1947 / Ottawa, Ontario)

An Impromptu

Here in the pungent gloom
Where the tamarac roses glow
And the balsam burns its perfume,
A vireo turns his slow
Cadence, as if he gloated
Over the last phrase he floated;
Each one he moulds and mellows
Matching it with its fellows:
So have you noted
How the oboe croons,
The canary-throated,
In the gloom of the violoncellos
And bassoons.

But afar in the thickset forest
I hear a sound go free,
Crashing the stately neighbours
The pine and the cedar tree,
Horns and harps and tabors,
Drumming and harping and horning
In savage minstrelsy--
It wakes in my soul a warning
Of the wind of destiny.

My life is soaring and swinging
In triple walls of quiet,
In my heart there is rippling and ringing
A song with melodious riot,
When a fateful thing comes nigh it
A hush falls, and then
I hear in the thickset world
The wind of destiny hurled
On the lives of men.

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