Songs from a Northern Garden

by Bliss Carman


 

THE KEEPER'S SILENCE


 

My hillside garden half-way up 
The mountains from the purple sea,
Beholds the pomp of days go by 
In summer's gorgeous pageantry.

I watch the shadows of the clouds

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Stream over Grand Pré in the sun, 
And the white fog seethe up and spill 
Over the rim of Blomidon.

For past the mountains to the North,
Like a great caldron of the tides, 

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Is Fundy, boiling round their base, 
And ever fuming up their sides.

Yet here within my valley world
No breath of all that tumult stirs;
The little orchards sleep in peace;

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Forever dream the dark blue firs.

And while far up the gorges sweep
The silver legions of the showers, 
I have communion with the grass 
And conversation with the flowers.

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More wonderful than human speech
Their dialect of silence is, 
The simple Dorian of the fields, 
So full of homely subtleties.

When the dark pansies nod to say

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Good morning to the marigolds,
Their velvet taciturnity 
Reveals as much as it withholds.

I always half expect to hear 
Some hint of what they mean to do; 

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But never is their fine reserve 
Betrayed beyond a smile or two.

Yet very well at times I seem 
To understand their reticence, 
And so, long since, I came to love 

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My little brothers by the fence.

Perhaps some August afternoon, 
When earth is only half-aware, 
They will unlock their heart for once,— 
How sad if I should not be there!

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