Verse > Anthologies > William Wilfred Campbell, ed. > The Oxford Book of Canadian Verse
William Wilfred Campbell, comp.  The Oxford Book of Canadian Verse.  1913.
By Jean Blewett (1862–1934)
OH, the frozen valley and frozen hill make a coffin wide and deep,
And the dead river lies, all its laughter stilled within it, fast asleep.
The trees that have played with the merry thing, and freighted its breast with leaves,
Give never a murmur or sigh of woe—they are dead—no dead thing grieves.
No carol of love from a song-bird’s throat; the world lies naked and still,        5
For all things tender, and all things sweet, have been touched by the gruesome chill.
Not a flower—a blue forget-me-not, a wild rose, or jasmine soft—
To lay its bloom on the dead river’s lips, that have kissed them all so oft.
But look! a ladder is spanning the space ’twixt earth and the sky beyond,
A ladder of gold for the Maid of Grace—the strong, the subtle, the fond!        10
Spring, with a mantle made of the gold held close in a sunbeam’s heart,
Thrown over her shoulders bonnie and bare—see the sap in the great trees start!
Where the hem of this flowing garment trails, see the glow, the colour bright,
A stirring and spreading of something fair—the dawn is chasing the night!
Spring, with all love and all dear delights pulsing in every vein,        15
The old earth knows her, and thrills to her touch, as she claims her own again.
Spring, with the hyacinths filling her lap and violet seeds in her hair,
With the crocus hiding its satin head in her bosom warm and fair;
Spring, with the daffodils at her feet and pansies abloom in her eyes;
Spring, with enough of God in herself to make the dead arise!        20
For see, as she bends o’er the coffin deep—the frozen valley and hill—
The dead river stirs,—ah, that lingering kiss is making its heart to thrill.
And then as she closer and closer leans, it slips from its snowy shroud,
Frightened a moment, then rushing away, calling and laughing aloud!
The hill where she rested is all abloom, the wood is green as of old,        25
And wakened birds are striving to send their songs to the Gates of Gold.

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