William Wilfred Campbell

(1858 - 1918 / Ontario)

To a Robin in November


Sweet, sweet and the soft listening heaven reels
In one blue ecstasy above thy song
In the red heart of all the opening year,
In the hushed murmur of low dreaming fields
Hung under heaven ’twixt dim blue and blue;
Where the young Summer, purpled and pearled in dew,
Mirrors herself in June, and knows no wrong.

Sweet, sweet, throwing thy lack of fear
Back to the heart of God, till heaven feels
The throbbing of earth’s music through and through.

Dreaming in song,—great pulsing-hearted hills,
Cradling the dawn in mists and purple veils
Of vapors, over pearls of lakes and brooks
Girdled about the neck of half the world,
When the red birth of the young dreaming June
Kisses the lands with gales, and murmurs, and trills
Of melody, lips that blossom with tales
Of music and color and form and beauty of looks
And snowy argosies in heaven furled,
All summer set to one sweet warbled tune.

And thou, red-throated, comest back to me
Here in the bare November bleak and chill,
Breathing the red-ripe of the lusty June
Over the rime of withered field and mere;
O heart of music, while I dream of thee,
Thou gladdest note in the dead Summer’s tune,
Great God! thou liest dead outside my sill,
Starved of the last chill berry on thy tree,
Like some sweet instrument left all unstrung,
The melodious orchestra of all the year.
Dead with the sweet dead summer thou had’st sung;
Dead with the dead year’s voices and clasp of hands;
Dead with all music and love and laughter and light;
While chilly and bleak comes up the winter night,
And shrieks the gust across the leafless lands.

Submitted: Thursday, January 01, 2004

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