Low Tide on Grand Pré: A Book of Lyrics

by Bliss Carman


 

THE PENSIONERS


 

WE are the pensioners of Spring,
     And take the largess of her hand
When vassal warder winds unbar
     The wintry portals of her land;

The lonely shadow-girdled winds,

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     Her seraph almoners, who keep
This little life in flesh and bone
     With meagre portions of white sleep.

Then all year through with starveling care
     We go on some fool’s idle quest,

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And eat her bread and wine in thrall
     To a fool’s shame with blind unrest.

Until her April train goes by,
     And then because we are the kin
Of every hill flower on the hill

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     We must arise and walk therein.

Because her heart as our own heart,
     Knowing the same wild upward stir,
Beats joyward by eternal laws,
     We must arise and go with her;

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Forget we are not where old joys
     Return when dawns and dreams retire;
Make grief a phantom of regret,
     And fate the henchman of desire;

Divorce unreason from delight;

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     Learn how despair is uncontrol,
Failure the shadow of remorse,
     And death a shudder of the soul.

Yea, must we triumph when she leads.
     A little rain before the sun,

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A breath of wind on the road’s dust,
     The sound of trammeled brooks undone,

Along red glinting willow stems
     The year’s white prime, on bank and stream
The haunting cadence of no song

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     And vivid wanderings of dream,

A range of low blue hills, the far
     First whitethroat’s ecstasy unfurled:
And we are overlords of change,
     In the glad morning of the world,

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Though we should fare as they whose life
     Time takes within his hands to wring
Between the winter and the sea,
     The weary pensioners of Spring.