from a Northern Garden
A GRAND PRÉ GARDEN
a garden over Grand Pré, dewy in the morning
Here in earliest September with the summer nearly
Musing on the lovely world and all its beauties,
one by one!
marigolds, and asters, scarlet poppies, purple
Who knows where the key is hidden to those frail
yet perfect locks
the tacit doors of being where the soul stands
still and knocks?
is Blomidon's blue sea-wall, set to guard the
Where the racing tides have entry; but who keeps
for us the gates
In the mighty range of silence where man's spirit
calls and waits?
is Glooscaap? There's a legend of that saviour
of the West,
benign one, whose all-wisdom loved beasts well,
though men the best,
Whom the tribes of Minas leaned on, and their
villages had rest.
the lodges were defenceless, all the warriors
On a hunting or adventure. Like a panther on a
On the helpless stole a war-band, ambushed to
attack at dawn.
But with night came Glooscaap. Sleeping he surprised
them; waved his
Through the summer leaves descended a great frost,
as white as snow;
Sealed their slumber to eternal peace and stillness
a miracle. Among them, while still death undid
Slept a captive with her children. Such the magic
he could use,
arose unharmed with morning, and departing, told
too, when the mighty Beaver had the country for
All the way from the Pereau here to Bass River
Stoned the rascal; drained the Basin; routed out
can see yourself Five Islands Glooscaap flung
at him that day,
from Blomidon to Sharp he tore the Beaver's dam
Cleared the channel, and the waters thundered
out into the bay.
(Do we idle, little children? Ah, well, there
is hope, maybe,
In mere beauty which enraptures just such ne'er-do-wells
I must go and pick my apples. Malyn will be calling
Here he left us—see the orchards, red and
gold in every tree!—
All the land from Gaspereau to Portapique and
All the garden lands of Minas and a passage out
can watch the white-sailed vessels through the
meadows wind and
All day long the pleasant sunshine, and at night
the starry sleep,
the labouring tides that rest not have their business
with the deep!
I get my myth and legend of a breaker-down of
Putting gateways in the mountains with their thousand-year-old
That the daring and the dauntless might steer
outward by the stars.
my demiurgic hero lays a frost on all our fears.
the grisly superstition, dead the bigotry of years,
Dead the tales that frighten children, when the
pure white light appears.
did Glooscaap of the mountains. What doth Balder
of the flowers,Balder, the white lord of April,
who comes back amid the showersAnd the sunshine
to the Northland to revive this earth of ours?
First, how came my garden, where untimely not
a leaf may wilt?
For a thousand years the currents trenched the
rock and wheeled the silt,
Dredged and filled and smoothed and levelled,
toiling that it might be built.
the moon pulled and the sun pushed on the derrick
of the tide;
And a great wind heaved and blustered,—swung
the weight round with a
tons of red detritus out of the old mountain side,—
them down and laid them even by the mouth of stream
For the quiet lowly doorstep, for cemented joist
Of our Grand Pré, where the cattle lead
their shadows or lie still.
my garden floor was founded by the labouring frugal
and virginal as Eden, for the flowers that were
All for my great drowsy poppies and my marigolds
had guessed the unsubstantial end and outcome
of such toil,—
These, the children of a summer, whom a breath
of frost would foil,
I, almost as faint and fleeting as my brothers
of the soil?
Did those vague and drafty sea-tides, as they
journeyed, feel the surge
Of the prisoned life that filled them seven times
full from verge to verge,
Mounting to some far achievement where its ardour
they blinder of a purpose in their courses fixed
Those sea arteries whose heavings throb through
my heart's frail valves and hinges which so perilously
I say to it, "Give over!"—Can
I will, and it will cease?
Nay, it stops but with destruction; knows no respite
I, who did not start its pulses, cannot bid them
be at peace.
the great deep, framed and fashioned to a thought
beyond its own,
by tides that race or sleep without its will from
zone to zone,
Setting door-stones for a people in a century
for me and my poppies the red earth we love so
Gently there, my fine logician, brooding in your
lone grey cell!
Was it all for our contentment such a miracle
No; because my drowsy poppies and my marigolds
this human need in common, nodding as the wind
There is that supreme within us no one life can
their innocent grave faces lifted up to meet my
They are but the stranger people, swarthy children
of the sun,
tenting at our door to vanish ere the year is
we idle, little children! Still our best of tasks
From distraction and from discord without baseness
to get free.
I must go and pick my apples. Malyn will be calling
then, most humbly ever, little brothers of the
Aloha at your doorways I salute you as you pass,
I who wear the mortal vesture, as our custom ever
for kindred by the habit, by the tanned and crimson
Earthlings in the garb ensanguined just so long
as we remain,
You for days and I for seasons mystics by the
Till we tread the virgin threshold of a great
moon red and low,
Clean and joyous while we tarry, and uncraven
when we go
From the rooftree of the rain-wind and the broad
eaves of the snow.
this thing called life, which frets us like a
fever without name,
Soul of man and seed of poppy no mortality can
at the core of beauty till it breaks in perfect
it is I know not; only I know they and I are one,
By the lure that bids us linger in the great House
of the Sun,
By the fervour that sustains us at the door we
a little wider prospect, I survey their bright
a rounder dim horizon, I behold the ploughman
All I have and hold so lightly, they will perish
at the word of April with the South Wind at her
We await the revelation locked beneath the four
Ice and snow and dark and silence, where the Northern
Waiting till our Brother Balder walks the lovely
earth once more,
With the robin in the fir-top, with the rain-wind
at the door,
With the old unwearied gladness to revive us and
abide the raptured moment, with the patience of
Like ephemera our kindred, transmigrant from zone
that last fine state of being where they live
on joy alone.
great Glooscaap and kind Balder, born of human
When earth's need took shape and substance, and
the impulse to aspire
Passed among the new-made peoples, touching the
red clay with fire,
the myth and might of beauty, lead us and allure
the open door of wonder and oblivion's granite
Past the curtain of the sunset in the portals
of the hill,
new provinces of wisdom, sailless latitudes of
I for one must keep the splendid faith in good
your lives extol,
Well assured the love you lived by is my being's
source and goal.
Fearless when the will bids "Venture,"
or the sleepless mind bids "Know,"
Here among my lowly neighbours blameless let me
come and go,
Till I, too, receive the summons to the silent
Tents of Snow.
a garden over Grand Pré, bathed in the
Of the early autumn sunlight, came these quiet
thoughts to me,
the wind went down the orchard to the dikes and
out to sea.
(Idling yet? My flowery children, only far too
well I see
How this day will glow forever in my life that
is to be!
I must go and pick my apples. There is Malyn calling