The Book of the Native

by Charles G.D. Roberts




Back to the bewildering vision
    And the border-land of birth;
Back into the looming wonder,
    The companionship of earth;

Back unto the simple kindred—

    Childlike fingers, childlike eyes,
Working, waiting, comprehending,
    Now in patience, now surprise;

Back unto the faithful healing
    And the candor of the sod—

Scent of mould and moisture stirring
    At the secret touch of God;

Back into the ancient stillness
    Where the wise enchanter weaves,
To the twine of questing tree-root,

    The expectancy of leaves;

Back to hear the hushed consulting
    Over bud and blade and germ,
As the Mother’s mood apportions
    Each its pattern, each its term;


Back into the grave beginnings
    Where all wonder-tales are true,
Strong enchantments, strange successions,
    Mysteries of old and new;

Back to knowledge and renewal,

    Faith to fashion and reveal,
Take me, Mother,—in compassion
    All thy hurt ones fain to heal.

Back to wisdom take me, Mother;
    Comfort me with kindred hands;

Tell me tales the world’s forgetting,
    Till my spirit understands.

Tell me how some sightless impulse,
    Working out a hidden plan,
God for kin and clay for fellow,

    Wakes to find itself a man.

Tell me how the life of mortal,
    Wavering from breath to breath,
Like a web of scarlet pattern
    Hurtles from the loom of death.


How the caged bright bird, desire,
    Which the hands of God deliver,
Beats aloft to drop unheeded
    At the confines of forever:

Faints unheeded for a season,

    Then outwings the furthest star,
To the wisdom and the stillness
    Where thy consummations are.