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William Wilfred Campbell (1858?-1918)

The Winter Lakes


              1Out in a world of death far to the northward lying,
              2     Under the sun and the moon, under the dusk and the day;
              3Under the glimmer of stars and the purple of sunsets dying,
              4     Wan and waste and white, stretch the great lakes away.

              5Never a bud of spring, never a laugh of summer,
              6     Never a dream of love, never a song of bird;
              7But only the silence and white, the shores that grow chiller and dumber,
              8     Wherever the ice winds sob, and the griefs of winter are heard.

              9Crags that are black and wet out of the grey lake looming,
            10     Under the sunset's flush and the pallid, faint glimmer of dawn;
            11Shadowy, ghost-like shores, where midnight surfs are booming
            12     Thunders of wintry woe over the spaces wan.

            13Lands that loom like spectres, whited regions of winter,
            14     Wastes of desolate woods, deserts of water and shore;
            15A world of winter and death, within these regions who enter,
            16     Lost to summer and life, go to return no more.

            17Moons that glimmer above, waters that lie white under,
            18     Miles and miles of lake far out under the night;
            19Foaming crests of waves, surfs that shoreward thunder,
            20     Shadowy shapes that flee, haunting the spaces white.

            21Lonely hidden bays, moon-lit, ice-rimmed, winding,
            22     Fringed by forests and crags, haunted by shadowy shores;
            23Hushed from the outward strife, where the mighty surf is grinding
            24     Death and hate on the rocks, as sandward and landward it roars.

Notes

4] great lakes: Superior, Huron, Michigan, Erie, and Ontario.


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: The Collected Poems of Wilfred Campbell (New York: Fleming H. Revell, 1905), pp. 346-47. PS 8455 A6A17. Robarts Library.
First publication date: 28 January 1889
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
RP edition: RPO 1998.
Recent editing: 4:2002/1/17

Composition date: 1885 - 1887
Rhyme: abab


Other poems by William Wilfred Campbell