Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Winter Lakes / William Wilfred Campbell

         
The Winter Lakes

Out in a world of death far to the northward lying,
     Under the sun and the moon, under the dusk and the day;
Under the glimmer of stars and the purple of sunsets dying,
     Wan and waste and white, stretch the great lakes away.

Never a bud of spring, never a laugh of summer,
     Never a dream of love, never a song of bird;
But only the silence and white, the shores that grow chiller and dumber,
     Wherever the ice winds sob, and the griefs of winter are heard.

Crags that are black and wet out of the gray lake looming,
     Under the sunset’s flush and the pallid, faint glimmer of dawn;
Shadowy, ghost-like shores, where midnight surfs are booming
     Thunders of wintry woe over the spaces wan.

Lands that loom like spectres, whited regions of winter,
     Wastes of desolate woods, deserts of water and shore;
A world of winter and death, within these regions who enter,
     Lost to summer and life, go to return no more.

Moons that glimmer above, waters that lie white under,
     Miles and miles of lake far out under the night;
Foaming crests of waves, surfs that shoreward thunder,
     Shadowy shapes that flee, haunting the spaces white.

Lonely hidden bays, moon-lit, ice-rimmed, winding,
     Fringed by forests and crags, haunted by shadowy shores;
Hushed from the outward strife, where the mighty surf is grinding
     Death and hate on the rocks, as sandward and landward it roars.

---
William Wilfred Campbell
from Lake Lyrics, and other poems, 1889

[Poem is in the public domain in Canada, the United States, and the European Union]

Biography of William Wilfred Campbell (by George Dance)

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