The Solitary Woodsman

Original Text: 
Selected Poems of Sir Charles G. D. Roberts (Toronto: Ryerson, 1936): 39-40. PS 8485 O22A17 Robarts Library.
1When the grey lake-water rushes
2Past the dripping alder-bushes,
3    And the bodeful autumn wind
4In the fir-tree weeps and hushes, --
5When the air is sharply damp
6Round the solitary camp,
7    And the moose-bush in the thicket
8Glimmers like a scarlet lamp, --
9When the birches twinkle yellow,
11    And the owl across the twilight
12Trumpets to his downy fellow, --
13When the nut-fed chipmunks romp
14Through the maples' crimson pomp,
15    And the slim viburnum flushes
16In the darkness of the swamp, --
17When the blueberries are dead,
18When the rowan clusters red,
19    And the shy bear, summer-sleekened,
20In the bracken makes his bed, --
21On a day there comes once more
22To the latched and lonely door,
23    Down the wood-road striding silent,
24One who has been here before.
25Green spruce branches for his head,
26Here he makes his simple bed,
27    Crouching with the sun, and rising
28When the dawn is frosty red.
29All day long he wanders wide
30With the grey moss for his guide,
31    And his lonely axe-stroke startles
32The expectant forest-side.
33Toward the quiet close of day
34Back to camp he takes his way,
35    And about his sober footsteps
36Unafraid the squirrels play.
37On his roof the red leaf falls,
38At his door the bluejay calls,
39    And he hears the wood-mice hurry
40Up and down his rough log walls;
42Thrill the dying afternoon;
43    Hears the calling of the moose
44Echo to the early moon.
45And he hears the partridge drumming,
46The belated hornet humming, --
47    All the faint, prophetic sounds
48That foretell the winter's coming.
49And the wind about his eaves
50Through the chilly night-wet grieves,
51    And the earth's dumb patience fills him,
52Fellow to the falling leaves.


10] cornel: cherry tree, dogwood. Back to Line
41] loon: northern fish-eating bird with a haunting cry. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
Publication Notes: 
The Century Magazine (January 1897).
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
RPO 1998.