Francis Sherman (1871-1926)
Text from A Century of Canadian Sonnets.
October's peace hath fallen on everything.
In the far west, above the pine-crowned hill,
With red and purple yet the heavens thrill--
The passing of the sun remembering.
A crow sails by on heavy, flapping wing,
(In some land, surely the young Spring hath her will!)
Below, the little city lieth still;
And on the river's breast the mist-wreaths cling.
Here, on this slope that yet hath known no plough,
The cattle wander homeward slowly now;
In shapeless clumps the ferns are brown and dead.
Among the fir-trees dusk is swiftly born;
The maples will be desolate by morn.
The last word of the summer hath been said.
The House of Night
Though all the light were lifted from the land,
And a great darkness lay upon the sea;
Though, groping each for some not-careless hand,
I felt sad men pass over wearily;
Though it were certain dawn would not come in
With the next hour; that after many days
Would no moon rise where the grey clouds grew thin,
Nor any stars resume their ancient ways:
Though all my world was thus, and I more blind
Than the dead, blundering planets raining past,
I know I should not fancy Time unkind;
For you, as once of old you came, at last
Would surely come, and with unfaltering faith
Lead me beyond the dominance of death.
Let us rise up and live! Behold, each thing
Is ready for the moulding of our hand.
Long have they all awaited our command;
None other will they ever own for king.
Until we come no bird dare try to sing,
Nor any sea its power may understand;
No buds are on the trees; in every land
Year asketh year some tidings of some Spring.
Yea, it is time--high time we were awake!
Simple indeed shall life be unto us.
What part is ours?--To take what all things give;
To feel the whole world growing for our sake;
To have sure knowledge of the marvellous;
To laugh and love--Let us rise up and live!
In Memorabilia Mortis
I marked the slow withdrawal of the year.
Out on the hills the scarlet maples shone--
The glad, first herald of triumphant dawn.
A robin's song fell through the silence--clear
As long ago it rang when June was here.
Then, suddenly, a few grey clouds were drawn
Across the sky; and all the song was gone,
And all the gold was quick to disappear.
That day the sun seemed loth to come again;
And all day long the low wind spoke of rain,
Far off, beyond the hills; and moaned, like one
Wounded, among the pines: as though the Earth,
Knowing some giant grief had come to birth,
Had wearied of the Summer and the Sun.