William Wilfred Campbell

(1858 - 1918 / Ontario)

Spring In Canada


SEASON of life's renewal, love's rebirth,
And all hope's young espousals; in your dream,
I feel once more the ancient stirrings of Earth.

Now in your moods benign of sun and wind,
The worn and aged, winter-wrinkled Earth,
Forgetting sorrow, sleep and iced snows,
Turns joyful to the glad sun bland and kind,
And in his kiss forgets her ancient woes.

Men scorn thy name in song in these late days
When life is sordid, crude, material, grim,
And love a laughter unto brutish minds,
Song a weariness or an idle whim,
The scoff of herds of this world's soulless hinds,
Deaf to the melody of your brooks and winds,
Blind to the beauty of your splendid dream.

Because earth's hounds and jackals bay the moon,
Must then poor Philomel forbear to sing,
Or that life's barn fowl croak in dismal tune,
Love's lark in heaven fail to lift her wing.

And even I, who feel thine ancient dreams,
Do hail thee, wondrous Spring,
Love's rare magician of this waking world,
Who turnest to melody all Earth's harshest themes,
And buildest beauty out of each bleak thing
In being, where thy roseate dreams are furled.

In thee, old age once more renews his youth,
And turns him kindling to his memoried past,
Reviving golden moments now no more,
By blossoming wood and wide sun-winnowed shore;
While youth by some supreme, divine intent,
Some spirit beneath all moods that breathe and move,
Builds o'er all earth a luminous, tremulous tent
In which to dream and love.

All elements and spirits stir and wake
From haunts of dream and death.
Loosened the waters from their iced chains
Go roaring by loud ways from fen and lake,
While all the world is filled with voice of rains,
And tender droppings toward the unborn flowers,
And rosy shoots in sunward blossoming bowers.

Loosened, the snows of Winter, cerements
From off the corpse of Autumn, waste and flee;
Loosened the gyves of slumber, plain and stream,
And all the spirits of life who build and dream
Enfranchised, glad and free.

Far out around the world by woods and meres,
Rises, like morn from night, a magic haze,
Filled with dim pearly hints of unborn days,
Of April's smiles and tears.

Far in the misty woodlands, myriad buds,
Shut leaves and petals, peeping one by one,
As in a night, leafy infinitudes,
By some kind inward magic of the sun,
Where yestereve the sad-voiced lonesome wind
Wailed a wild melody of mad Winter's mind,
Now clothed with tremulous glories of the Spring.

Or in low meadow lands some chattering brook
But last eve silent, or in slumbrous tune
Whispering hushed melodies to the wan-faced moon,
Like life slow ebbing; now with all life's dowers,
Goes loudly shouting down the joyous hours.

Wan weeds and clovers, tiny spires of green,
Rising from myriad meadows and far fields,
Drinking within the warm rains sweet and clear;
Put on the infinite glory of the year.

After long months of waiting, months of woe,
Months of withered age and sleep and death,
Months of bleak cerements of iced snow,
After dim shrunken days and long-drawn nights
Of pallid storm and haunted northern lights,
Wakens the song, the bud, the brook, the thrill,
The glory of being and the petalled breath,—
The newer wakening of a magic will,
Of life re-stirring to its infinite deeps,
By wave and shore and hooded mere and hill;—
And I, too, blind and dumb, and filled with fear,
Life-gyved and frozen, like a prisoned thing,
Feel all this glory of the waking year,
And my heart fluttering like a young bird's wing,
Doth tune itself in joyful guise to sing
The splendour and hope of all the splendid year,
The magic dream of Spring !

Submitted: Thursday, April 15, 2010
Edited: Saturday, May 07, 2011

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