William Wilfred Campbell (1858?-1918)
How One Winter Came in the Lake Region
1For weeks and weeks the autumn world stood still,
2 Clothed in the shadow of a smoky haze;
3The fields were dead, the wind had lost its will,
4And all the lands were hushed by wood and hill,
5 In those grey, withered days.
6Behind a mist the blear sun rose and set,
7 At night the moon would nestle in a cloud;
8The fisherman, a ghost, did cast his net;
9The lake its shores forgot to chafe and fret,
10 And hushed its caverns loud.
11Far in the smoky woods the birds were mute,
12 Save that from blackened tree a jay would scream,
13Or far in swamps the lizard's lonesome lute
14Would pipe in thirst, or by some gnarlèd root
15 The tree-toad trilled his dream.
16From day to day still hushed the season's mood,
17 The streams stayed in their runnels shrunk and dry;
18Suns rose aghast by wave and shore and wood,
19And all the world, with ominous silence, stood
20 In weird expectancy:
21When one strange night the sun like blood went down,
22 Flooding the heavens in a ruddy hue;
23Red grew the lake, the sere fields parched and brown,
24Red grew the marshes where the creeks stole down,
25 But never a wind-breath blew.
26That night I felt the winter in my veins,
27 A joyous tremor of the icy glow;
28And woke to hear the north's wild vibrant strains,
29While far and wide, by withered woods and plains,
30 Fast fell the driving snow.
6] blear: dim.
12] blue: blue jay, a bird native to Ontario.
17] runnels: channels.
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: William Wilfred Campbell, The Dread Voyage: Poems (Toronto: William Briggs, 1893), pp. 164-66. B-10 5840
First publication date:
Publication date note: Published in Century.
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
RP edition: RPO 1998.
Recent editing: 4:2002/1/17
Other poems by William Wilfred Campbell