Songs from a Northern Garden

by Bliss Carman


 

AT HOME AND ABROAD


 

My modest Northern garden 
Is full of yellow flowers, 
And quaking leaves and sunlight 
And long noon hours.

It hangs upon the hillside

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Above the little town;
And there in pleasant weather
You can look far down,

To the broad dikes of Grand Pré
Roamed over by the herds, 

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And the purple Minas water 
Where fish the white sea-birds.

I watch the little vessels,
Where the slow rivers glide
Between the grassy orchards,

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Come in upon the tide.

For daily there accomplished
Is the sea's legerdemain, 
To fill the land with rivers 
And empty it again.

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Before you lies North Mountain,
Built like a long sea-wall— 
A wonder in blue summer 
And in the crimson fall.

The sea-fogs cloud and mantle

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Along its fir-dark crest, 
While under it the fruit-lands 
Have shelter and have rest.

And when the goblin moonlight
Loiters upon her round

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Of valley, marsh and mountain
To bless my garden-ground,— 

(The harvest moon that lingers
Until her task is done,
And all the grain is ripened

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For her great lord, the sun,)

I know that there due northward,
Under the polar star, 
Sir Blomidon is fronting 
Whatever storms there are.

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I cannot see those features 
I love so well by day, 
Calmed by a thousand summers, 
Scarred by the winter's play;

Yet there above the battle 

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Of the relentless tides, 
Under the solemn starlight 
He muses and abides.

And in the magic stillness, 
The moonlight's ghostly gleam

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Makes me its sylvan brother, 
To rove the world a-dream.

That wayward and oblivious
Mortal I seem to be 
Shall habit not forever 

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This garden by the sea.

Not Blomidon nor Grand Pré
Shall be his lasting home, 
Nor all the Ardise country 
Give room enough to roam.

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Even to-night a little 
He strays, and will not bide 
The gossip of the flowers, 
The rumour of the tide.

He must be forth and seeking,

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Beyond this garden-ground, 
The arm-in-arm companion 
For whom the sun goes round.

And in the soft May weather 
I walk with you again, 

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Where the terraces of Meudon 
Look down upon the Seine.