The Dread Voyage Poems

by William Wilfred Campbell




IN the winter wan and white,
When the days grow long and bright,
And the sun grows warm and hot
In each southward sheltered spot
Back of fences, under hills;
Then my brain with fancy fills,
Then my heart grows young again
Through the days that wax and wane.

In the morning when I wake,
Something all my heart doth take

Captive with a secret thrill
Toward the young year’s waking will;
When I feel the sun behind
My closed, eastward window blind
Something wells up in my heart,
Most of joy and hope a part.

Burns the morning’s warm glow
Over wastes of ice and snow;
Over spaces chill and bare,
Life and love are in the air.

With the year that is to be
Throbs my heart in sympathy.
Springward turns the whole world’s mind,
Sleep and death are left behind.

In the hot, glad afternoons,

When the whole world melts and swoons
In a garment of thin haze
Over woods and rude roadways,
And the landscape, chill and wan,
Softer aspect taketh on;
Then my steps to southward turn
Where the sloping sun doth burn.

Then my heart within me sings
Lyrics of the world’s dead springs;
Something mystic, magical,

Hovers, glamours over all;
Even the osiers, red and yellow,
Prophesy each to its fellow;
Every voice and note I hear
Whispers of the pulsing year.

Cackling fowls in southward barns,
Wild notes over sheeted tarns,
Melted roadways, soiled snow,
Premature calling of a crow,
Fill my soul with reveries
As wells the upward sap in trees,
When my steps to southward turn
And the sloping sun doth burn.

Then at night, ere men have slept,
Across the stars a mist hath crept;

Then a film drapes the skies,
And the night hath softer eyes;
Something in the heaven aglow,
Something in the earth below,
Toward glad dreaming turns my brain,
And my heart grows young again.