Frederick George Scott (1861-?)
Text from A Century of Canadian Sonnets.
I saw Time in his workshop carving faces;
Scattered around his tools lay, blunting griefs,
Sharp cares that cut out deeply in reliefs
Of light and shade; sorrows that smooth the traces
Of what were smiles. Nor yet without fresh graces
His handiwork, for ofttimes rough were ground
And polished, oft the pinched made smooth and round;
The calm look, too, the impetuous fire replaces.
Long time I stood and watched; with hideous grin
He took each heedless face between his knees,
And graved and scarred and bleached with boiling tears.
I wondering turned to go, when, lo! my skin
Feels crumpled, and in glass my own face sees
Itself all changed, scarred, careworn, white with years.
O little hands, long vanished in the night--
Sweet fairy hands that were my treasure here--
My heart is full of music from some sphere,
Where ye make melody for God's delight.
Though autumn clouds obscure the starry height,
And winds are noisy and the land is drear,
In this blank room I feel my lost love near,
And hear you playing--hands so small and white.
The shadowy organ sings its songs again,
The dead years turn to music at its voice,
And all the dreams come back my brain did store.
Once more, dear hands, ye soothe me in my pain,
Once more your music makes my heart rejoice--
God speed the day we clasp for evermore!
These mountains reign alone, they do not share
The transitory life of woods and streams;
Wrapt in the deep solemnity of dreams,
They drain the sunshine of the upper air.
Beneath their peaks, the huge clouds, here and there,
Take counsel of the wind, which all night screams
Through grey, burnt forests where the moonlight beams
On hidden lakes, and rocks worn smooth and bare.
These mountains once, throned in some primal sea,
Shook half the world with thunder, and the sun
Pierced not the gloom that clung about their crest;
Now with sealed lips, toilers from toil set free,
Unvexed by fate, the part they played being done,
They watch and wait in venerable rest.