Verse > Anthologies > William Wilfred Campbell, ed. > The Oxford Book of Canadian Verse
William Wilfred Campbell, comp.  The Oxford Book of Canadian Verse.  1913.
By Archibald Lampman (1861–1899)
FROM plains that reel to southward, dim,
  The road runs by me white and bare;
Up the steep hill it seems to swim
  Beyond, and melt into the glare.
Upward half-way, or it may be        5
  Nearer the summit, slowly steals
A hay-cart, moving dustily
  With idly clacking wheels.
By his cart’s side the wagoner
  Is slouching slowly at his ease,        10
Half hidden in the windless blur
  Of white dust puffing to his knees.
This wagon on the height above,
  From sky to sky, on either hand,
Is the sole thing that seems to move        15
  In all the heat-held land.
Beyond me in the fields the sun
  Soaks in the grass and hath his will;
I count the marguerites one by one;
  Even the buttercups are still.        20
On the brook yonder not a breath
  Disturbs the spider or the midge;
The water-bugs draw close beneath
  The cool gloom of the bridge.
Where the far elm-tree shadows flood        25
  Dark patches in the burning grass,
The cows, each with her peaceful cud,
  Lie waiting for the heat to pass.
From somewhere on the slope near by,
  Into the pale depth of the noon        30
A wandering thrush slides leisurely
  His thin revolving tune.
In intervals of dreams I hear
  The cricket from the droughty ground;
The grasshoppers spin into mine ear        35
  A small innumerable sound.
I lift mine eyes sometimes to gaze;
  The burning sky-line blinds my sight;
The woods far-off are blue with haze;
  The hills are drenched in light.        40
And yet to me not this or that
  Is always sharp or always sweet;
In the sloped shadow of my hat
  I lean at rest, and drain the heat;
Nay more, I think some blessèd power        45
  Hath brought me wandering idly here;
In the full furnace of this hour
  My thoughts grow keen and clear.

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