(24 February 1859 – 5 May 1935 / Toronto)

In March

HERE on the wide waste lands,
Take– child–these trembling hands,
Though my life be as blank and waste,
My days as surely ungraced
By glimmer of green on the rim
Of a sunless wilderness dim,
As the wet fields barren and brown,
As the fork of each sterile limb
Shorn of its lustrous crown.



See–how vacant and flat
The landscape empty and dull,
Scared by an ominous lull
Into a trance–we have sat
This hour on the edge of a broken, a grey snake-fence,
And nothing that lives has flown,
Or crept, or leapt, or been blown
To our feet or past our faces–
So desolate, child–the place is!
It strikes, does it not, a chill,
Like that other upon the hill,
We felt one bleak October?
See–the grey woods still sober
Ere it be wild with glee,
With growth, with an ecstasy,
A fruition born of desire.
The marigold's yellow fire
Doth not yet in the sun burn to leap, to aspire;
Its myriad spotted spears
No erythronium rears;
We cannot see
Anemone,
Or heart-lobed brown hepatica;
There doth not fly,
Low under sky,
One kingfisher–dipping and darting
From reedy shallows where reds are starting,
Pale pink tips that shall burst into bloom,
Not in one night's mid-April gloom,
But inch by inch, till ripening tint,
And feathery plume and emerald glint
Proclaim the waters are open.

All this will come,
The panting hum
Of the life that will stir,
Glance and glide, and whistle and whir,
Chatter and crow, and perch and pry,
Crawl and leap and dart and fly,
Things of feather and things of fur,



Under the blue of an April sky.
Shall speak, the dumb,
Shall leap, the numb,
All this will come,
It never misses,
Failure, yet–
Never was set
In the sure spring's calendar,
Wherefore–Pet–
Give me one of your springtime kisses!
While you plant some hope in my cold man's breast–
Ah! How welcome the strange flower-guest–
Water it softly with maiden tears,
Go to it early–and late–with fears;
Guard it, and watch it, and give it time
For the holy dews to moisten the rime–
Make of it some green gracious thing,
Such as the heavens shall make of the spring!

. . . . .

The trees and the houses are darkling,
No lamps yet are sparkling
Along the ravine;
A wild wind rises, the waters are fretting,
No moon nor star in the sky can be seen!
But if I can bring her with thinking
The thoughts that are linking
Her life unto mine:
Then blow wild wind! And chafe, proud river!
At least a Star in my heart shall shine.

. . . . .

Had I not met her, great had been my loss,
Had I not loved her, pain I had been spared.
So this life goes, and lovers bear the cross,
Burden borne willingly, if only it be shared.
Had I not met her, Song had passed me by,
Had I not loved her, Fame had been more sure.
So this life goes, we laugh, and then we sigh,
While we believe 'tis blessed to endure.

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