Francis Sherman (1871-1926)

Text from A Century of Canadian Sonnets.

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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.

A Life

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.