Duncan Campbell Scott

(2 August 1862 – 19 December 1947 / Ottawa, Ontario)

Avis


With a golden rolling sound
Booming came a bell,
From the aery in the tower
Eagles fell;
So with regal wings
Hurled, and gleaming sound and power,
Sprang the fatal spell.

Ten a storm of burnished doves
Gleaming from the cote
Flurried by the almonry
O'er the moat,--
Fell and soared and fell
With the arc and iris eye
Burning breast and throat.

Avis heard the beaten bell
Break the quiet space,
Gathering softly in the room
Round her face;
And the sound of wings
From the deeps of rosy gloom
Rustled in the place.

Nothing moved along the wall,
Weltered on the floor;
Only in the purple deep,
Streaming o'er,
Came the dream of sound
Silent as the dale of sleep,
Where the dreams are four.

(One of love without a word,
Wan to look upon,
One of fear without a cry,
Cowering stone,
And the dower of life,
Grief without a single sigh,
Pain without a moan.)

"Avis-Avis!" Cried a voice;
Then the voice was mute.
"Avis!" Soft the echo lay
As the lute.
Where she was she fell,
Drowsy as mandragora,
Trancèd to the root.

Then she heard her mother's voice,
Tender as a dove;
Then her lover plain and sigh,
"Avis--Love!"
Like the mavis bird
Calling, calling lonelily
From the eerie grove.

Then she heard within the vast
Closure of the spell,
Rolled and moulded into one
Rounded swell,
All the sounds that ever were
Uttered underneath the sun,
Heard in heaven or hell.

In the arras moved the wind,
And the window cloth
Rippled like a serpent barred,
Gray with wrath;
In the brazier gold
The wan ghost of a rose charred
Fluttered like a moth.

Tranquil lay her darkened eyes
As the pools that keep
Auras dim of fern and frond
Dappled, deep,
Dreamy as the map of Nod;
Moveless was she as a wand
In the wind of sleep.

Then the birds began to cry
From the crannied wall,
Piping as the morning rose
Mystical,
Gray with whistling rain,
Silver with the light that flows
In the interval.

Pallid poplars cast a shade,
Twinkling gray and dun,
Where the wind and water wove
Into one
All the linnet leaves,
Greening from the mere and grove
In the undern sun.

Night fell with the ferny dusk,
Planets paled and grew,
Up, with lily and clarid turns
Throbbing through,
Rose the robin's song,
Heart of home and love that burns beating in the dew.

But she neither moved nor heard,
Trancèd was her breath;
Lip on charmèd lip was laid
(One who saith
"Love-Undone" and falls).
Silent was she as a shade
In the dells of death.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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