The Book of the Native

by Charles G.D. Roberts


An Oblation


Behind the fateful gleams
Of Life’s foretelling streams
    Sat the Artificer
Of souls and deeds and dreams.

Before him April came;

And on her mouth his name
    Breathed like a flower
And lightened like a flame.

She offered him a world
With showers of joy empearled;

    And a Spring wind
With iris wings unfurled.

She offered him a flight
Of birds that fare by night,
    Voyaging northward

By the ancestral sight.

She offered him a star
From the blue fields afar,
    Where unforgotten
The ghosts of gladness are.

And every root and seed
Blind stirring in the mead
    Her hands held up,—
And still he gave no heed.

Then from a secret nook

Beside a pasture brook,—
    A place of leaves,—
A pink-lipped bloom she took.

Softly before his feet,
Oblation small and sweet,

    She laid the arbutus,
And found the offering meet.

Over the speaking tide,
Where Death and Birth abide,
    He stretched his palm,

And strewed the petals wide;—

And o’er the ebbing years,
Dark with the drift of tears,
    A sunbeam broke,
And summer filled the spheres.