Low Tide on Grand Pré

Original Text: 
Bliss Carman, Low Tide on Grand Pré: A Book of Lyrics (New York: C. L. Webster, 1893), pp. 15-18. B-11 7495 Fisher Library.
2These barren reaches by the tide
3Such unelusive glories fall,
4I almost dream they yet will bide
5Until the coming of the tide.
6And yet I know that not for us,
7By any ecstasy of dream,
8He lingers to keep luminous
9A little while the grievous stream,
10Which frets, uncomforted of dream--
11A grievous stream, that to and fro
13Goes wandering, as if to know
14Why one beloved face should be
15So long from home and Acadie.
16Was it a year or lives ago
17We took the grasses in our hands,
18And caught the summer flying low
19Over the waving meadow lands,
20And held it there between our hands?
21The while the river at our feet--
22A drowsy inland meadow stream--
23At set of sun the after-heat
24Made running gold, and in the gleam
25We freed our birch upon the stream.
26There down along the elms at dusk
27We lifted dripping blade to drift,
28Through twilight scented fine like musk,
29Where night and gloom awhile uplift,
30Nor sunder soul and soul adrift.
31And that we took into our hands
32Spirit of life or subtler thing--
33Breathed on us there, and loosed the bands
34Of death, and taught us, whispering,
35The secret of some wonder-thing.
36Then all your face grew light, and seemed
37To hold the shadow of the sun;
38The evening faltered, and I deemed
39That time was ripe, and years had done
40Their wheeling underneath the sun.
41So all desire and all regret,
42And fear and memory, were naught;
43One to remember or forget
44The keen delight our hands had caught;
45Morrow and yesterday were naught.
46The night has fallen, and the tide . . .
47Now and again comes drifting home,
48Across these aching barrens wide,
49A sigh like driven wind or foam:
50In grief the flood is bursting home.


1] Grand Pré, Nova Scotia, town and national park on the shores of the Minas Basin at the head of the Bay of Fundy, whose tide, at 15-16 meters, is among the highest in the world. Back to Line
12] Acadia, the first French colony in North America (1604-), whose centres are Grand Pré and Port-Royal. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
RPO 1998.