Rivers of Canada

Original Text: 
Bliss Carman, Far Horizons (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1925), pp. 30-32. PS 8455 A7F3 Robarts Library.
2They call me and call me to follow them away.
4Dancing and sparkling I see them in the sun.
5I hear the brawling rapid, the thunder of the fall,
6And when I think upon them I cannot stay at all.
7At the far end of the carry, where the wilderness begins,
8Set me down with my canoe-load--and forgiveness of my sins.
9O all the mighty rivers beneath the Polar Star,
10They call me and call me to follow them afar.
14And many a prairie river whose name is like a spell.
15They rumor through the twilight at the edge of the unknown,
16"There's a message waiting for you, and a kingdom all your own.
17"The wilderness shall feed you, her gleam shall be your guide.
18Come out from desolations, our path of hope is wide."
19O all the headlong rivers that hurry to the West,
20They call me and lure me with the joy of their unrest.
22I love their fearless reaches where winds untarnished play--
23The rush of glacial water across the pebbly bar
24To polished pools of azure where the hidden boulders are.
25Just there, with heaven smiling, any morning I would be,
26Where all the silver rivers go racing to the sea.
27O well remembered rivers that sing of long ago,
28Ajourneying through summer or dreaming under snow.
29Among their meadow islands through placid days they glide,
30And where the peaceful orchards are diked against the tide.
34They call me and call me to follow them home.


1] Hudson's Bay: inland sea jutting into northeastern Canada and joined to the Arctic Ocean and the north Atlantic. Back to Line
3] Missinaibi: Ontario river flowing north into Moose Lake and James Bay.
Abitibi: river from Abitibi Lake to James Bay in northern Ontario.
Little Current: northern Ontario river running into Albany River that drains into James Bay. Back to Line
11] Peace: a tributary of the Mackenzie River flowing from Williston Lake, British Columbia, through the Rockies and northern Alberta into the Slave River.
Athabasca: river flowing from the Columbia icefield into Lake Athabaska.
Coppermine: river flowing from Lac de Gras in the North West Territories to the Arctic Ocean.
Slave: river flowing from the Peace River into Great Slave Lake. Back to Line
12] Yukon: river flowing from northern British Columbia into Alaska and the Bering Sea.
Mackenzie: North America's second longest river, flowing from Great Slave Lake north to the Beaufort Sea. Back to Line
13] Saskatchewan: river that drains much of the Canadian prairies and flowing from Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, to Cedar Lake, Manitoba.
Assiniboine: river flowing across Saskatchewan and Manitoba to the Red River in Winnipeg.
Bow: river flowing from Bow Lake in Banff National Park into the Oldman River at Calgary, Alberta.
Qu'Appelle: northern Saskatchewan river, named ("who calls?") after a Cree legend of a youth who heard a voice call his name and later discovered it was that of his bride-to-be at the moment of her death. Back to Line
21] Columbia: river flowing from Columbia Lake in British Columbia to Portland, Oregon, and the Pacific.
Fraser: river flowing from Jasper National Park in the Rockies to the Strait of Georgia on the Pacific.
Bear: which river Carman has in mind here is not clear.
Kootenay: southwestern British Columbia river, flowing from the Rockies south and draining in the Columbia River. Back to Line
31] Tobique: river in New Brunwick running into the St. John River.
Madawaska: northern Maine river running into the St. John River in New Brunwick.
Gaspereaux: unidentified. Back to Line
32] St. Croix: this river runs along the border between Maine and New Brunswick.
Naskwaak: New Brunswick river flowing into the St. John River.
St. John: this river flows from Maine to the Madawaska River at Edmundston, New Brunswick, and then south to Saint John and into the Bay of Fundy. Back to Line
33] Fundy: Bay of Fundy, off Nova Scotia, and the source of some of the highest tides in the world. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
Publication Notes: 
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
RPO 1998.