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Constance Woodrow (1899-1937)

Out of the Dust


              1Out of the dust of all the past I came:
              2     My body is compact of memories
              3Of other lives in other forms than this,
              4     And I am kin to birds and beasts and trees.

              5Out of the dust of fairer things I came --
              6     Some ancient flower whose name we do not know,
              7Some fallen tree that saw strange altars lit
              8     With sacrificial fires of long ago.

              9Some humble moth that scorned the candle's flame
            10     And dared to set the far-off moon its goal,
            11Has left to me the lure of moonlit skies
            12     And all the futile yearning of its soul.

            13And what is now my heart was once a shell
            14     Upon the sands and heard the sea complain
            15From hour to hour in murmurous monotone,
            16     And holds remembrance of its ageless pain.

            17Unto the dust I shall again return,
            18     Even as the faded flower, the fallen tree,
            19The moth that faltered in its moon-ward flight,
            20     The shell that crumbled by the plangent sea.


Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: Constance Davies Woodrow, The Celtic Heart (Toronto: Ryerson Press, 1929): 51-52. PS 8545O62C4 Robarts Library
First publication date: 1929
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
RP edition: 2002
Recent editing: 1:2002/12/23

Rhyme: abcb


Other poems by Constance Woodrow