The White Wampum

by Emily Pauline Johnson


 

UNDER CANVAS

IN MUSKOKA


 

LICHENS of green and grey on every side;
And green and grey the rocks beneath our feet;
Above our heads the canvas stretching wide;
And over all, enchantment rare and sweet.

Fair Rosseau slumbers in an atmosphere
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That kisses her to passionless soft dreams.
O! joy of living we have found thee here,
And life lacks nothing, so complete it seems.

The velvet air, stirred by some elfin wings,
Comes swinging up the waters and then stills
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Its voice so low that floating by it sings
Like distant harps among the distant hills.

Across the lake the rugged islands lie,
Fir-crowned and grim; and further in the view
Some shadows seeming swung ’twixt cloud and sky,
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Are countless shores, a symphony of blue. [Page 53]

Some Northern sorceress, when day is done,
Hovers where cliffs uplift their gaunt grey steeps,
Bewitching to vermilion Rosseau’s sun,
That in a liquid mass of rubies sleeps.
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The scent of burning leaves, the camp-fire’s blaze,
The great logs cracking in the brilliant flame,
The groups grotesque, on which the fire-light plays,
Are pictures which Muskoka twilights frame.

And Night, star-crested, wanders up the mere
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With opiates for idleness to quaff,
And while she ministers, far off I hear
The owl’s uncanny cry, the wild loon’s laugh. [Page 54]