How One Winter Came in the Lake Region

Original Text: 
William Wilfred Campbell, The Dread Voyage: Poems (Toronto: William Briggs, 1893), pp. 164-66. B-10 5840 Fisher Library.
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.
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,
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,
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. Back to Line
12] blue: blue jay, a bird native to Ontario. Back to Line
17] runnels: channels. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
Publication Notes: 
Published in Century.
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
RPO 1998.