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Best Famous Bliss Carman Poems

Here is a collection of the all-time best famous Bliss Carman poems. This is a select list of the best famous Bliss Carman poetry. Reading, writing, and enjoying famous Bliss Carman poetry (as well as classical and contemporary poems) is a great past time. These top poems are the best examples of Bliss Carman poems.

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Written by Bliss Carman |

The Winter Scene

The rutted roads are all like iron; skies
Are keen and brilliant; only the oak-leaves cling
In the bare woods, or the hardy bitter-sweet;
Drivers have put their sheepskin jackets on;
And all the ponds are sealed with sheeted ice
That rings with stroke of skate and hockey-stick,
Or in the twilight cracks with running whoop.
Bring in the logs of oak and hickory, And make an ample blaze on the wide hearth.
Now is the time, with winter o'er the world, For books and friends and yellow candle-light, And timeless lingering by the settling fire.
While all the shuddering stars are keen with cold.
II Out from the silent portal of the hours, When frosts are come and all the hosts put on.
Their burnished gear to march across the night And o'er a darkened earth in splendor shine, Slowly above the world Orion wheels His glittering square, while on the shadowy hill And throbbing like a sea-light through the dusk, Great Sirius rises in his flashing blue.
Lord of the winter night, august and pure, Returning year on year untouched by time, To hearten faith with thine unfaltering fire, There are no hurts that beauty cannot ease, No ills that love cannot at last repair, In the victorious progress of the soul.
III Russet and white and gray is the oak wood In the great snow.
Still from the North it comes, Whispering, settling, sifting through the trees, O'erloading branch and twig.
The road is lost.
Clearing and meadow, stream and ice-bound pond Are made once more a trackless wilderness In the white hush where not a creature stirs; And the pale sun is blotted from the sky.
In that strange twilight the lone traveller halts To listen to the stealthy snowflakes fall.
And then far off toward the Stamford shore, Where through the storm the coastwise liners go, Faint and recurrent on the muffled air, A foghorn booming through the Smother--hark! IV When the day changed and the mad wind died down, The powdery drifts that all day long had blown Across the meadows and the open fields, Or whirled like diamond dust in the bright sun, Settled to rest, and for a tranquil hour The lengthening bluish shadows on the snow Stole down the orchard slope, and a rose light Flooded the earth with beauty and with peace.
Then in the west behind the cedars black The sinking sun stained red the winter dusk With sullen flare upon the snowy ridge,-- As in a masterpiece by Hokusai, Where on a background gray, with flaming breath A scarlet dragon dies in dusky gold.

Written by Bliss Carman |

Rivers of Canada

 O all the little rivers that run to Hudson's Bay,
They call me and call me to follow them away.
Missinaibi, Abitibi, Little Current--where they run Dancing and sparkling I see them in the sun.
I hear the brawling rapid, the thunder of the fall, And when I think upon them I cannot stay at all.
At the far end of the carry, where the wilderness begins, Set me down with my canoe-load--and forgiveness of my sins.
O all the mighty rivers beneath the Polar Star, They call me and call me to follow them afar.
Peace and Athabasca and Coppermine and Slave, And Yukon and Mackenzie--the highroads of the brave.
Saskatchewan, Assiniboine, the Bow and the Qu'Appelle, And many a prairie river whose name is like a spell.
They rumor through the twilight at the edge of the unknown, "There's a message waiting for you, and a kingdom all your own.
"The wilderness shall feed you, her gleam shall be your guide.
Come out from desolations, our path of hope is wide.
" O all the headlong rivers that hurry to the West, They call me and lure me with the joy of their unrest.
Columbia and Fraser and Bear and Kootenay, I love their fearless reaches where winds untarnished play-- The rush of glacial water across the pebbly bar To polished pools of azure where the hidden boulders are.
Just there, with heaven smiling, any morning I would be, Where all the silver rivers go racing to the sea.
O well remembered rivers that sing of long ago, Ajourneying through summer or dreaming under snow.
Among their meadow islands through placid days they glide, And where the peaceful orchards are diked against the tide.
Tobique and Madawaska and shining Gaspereaux, St.
Croix and Nashwaak and St.
John whose haunts I used to know.
And all the pleasant rivers that seek the Fundy foam, They call me and call me to follow them home.

Written by Bliss Carman |

A Song before Sailing

 Wind of the dead men's feet,
Blow down the empty street
Of this old city by the sea
With news for me!
Blow me beyond the grime
And pestilence of time!
I am too sick at heart to war
With failure any more.
Thy chill is in my bones; The moonlight on the stones Is pale, and palpable, and cold; I am as one grown old.
I call from room to room Through the deserted gloom; The echoes are all words I know, Lost in some long ago.
I prowl from door to door, And find no comrade more.
The wolfish fear that children feel Is snuffing at my heel.
I hear the hollow sound Of a great ship coming round, The thunder of tackle and the tread Of sailors overhead.
That stormy-blown hulloo Has orders for me, too.
I see thee, hand at mouth, and hark, My captain of the dark.
O wind of the great East, By whom we are released From this strange dusty port to sail Beyond our fellows' hail, Under the stars that keep The entry of the deep, Thy somber voice brings up the sea's Forgotten melodies; And I have no more need Of bread, or wine, or creed, Bound for the colonies of time Beyond the farthest prime.
Wind of the dead men's feet, Blow through the empty street; The last adventurer am I, Then, world, goodby!

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Written by Bliss Carman |


 Love's of itself too sweet; the best of all
Is, when love's honey has a dash of gall.

Written by Bliss Carman |

Low Tide on Grand Pré

 The sun goes down, and over all
These barren reaches by the tide
Such unelusive glories fall,
I almost dream they yet will bide
Until the coming of the tide.
And yet I know that not for us, By any ecstasy of dream, He lingers to keep luminous A little while the grievous stream, Which frets, uncomforted of dream-- A grievous stream, that to and fro Athrough the fields of Acadie Goes wandering, as if to know Why one beloved face should be So long from home and Acadie.
Was it a year or lives ago We took the grasses in our hands, And caught the summer flying low Over the waving meadow lands, And held it there between our hands? The while the river at our feet-- A drowsy inland meadow stream-- At set of sun the after-heat Made running gold, and in the gleam We freed our birch upon the stream.
There down along the elms at dusk We lifted dripping blade to drift, Through twilight scented fine like musk, Where night and gloom awhile uplift, Nor sunder soul and soul adrift.
And that we took into our hands Spirit of life or subtler thing-- Breathed on us there, and loosed the bands Of death, and taught us, whispering, The secret of some wonder-thing.
Then all your face grew light, and seemed To hold the shadow of the sun; The evening faltered, and I deemed That time was ripe, and years had done Their wheeling underneath the sun.
So all desire and all regret, And fear and memory, were naught; One to remember or forget The keen delight our hands had caught; Morrow and yesterday were naught.
The night has fallen, and the tide .
Now and again comes drifting home, Across these aching barrens wide, A sigh like driven wind or foam: In grief the flood is bursting home.

Written by Bliss Carman |

The Ships of Saint John

 Where are the ships I used to know,
That came to port on the Fundy tide
Half a century ago,
In beauty and stately pride?
In they would come past the beacon light,
With the sun on gleaming sail and spar,
Folding their wings like birds in flight
From countries strange and far.
Schooner and brig and barkentine, I watched them slow as the sails were furled, And wondered what cities they must have seen On the other side of the world.
Frenchman and Britisher and Dane, Yankee, Spaniard and Portugee, And many a home ship back again With her stories of the sea.
Calm and victorious, at rest From the relentless, rough sea-play, The wild duck on the river's breast Was not more sure than they.
The creatures of a passing race, The dark spruce forests made them strong, The sea's lore gave them magic grace, The great winds taught them song.
And God endowed them each with life-- His blessing on the craftsman's skill-- To meet the blind unreasoned strife And dare the risk of ill.
Not mere insensate wood and paint Obedient to the helm's command, But often restive as a saint Beneath the Heavenly hand.
All the beauty and mystery Of life were there, adventure bold, Youth, and the glamour of the sea And all its sorrows old.
And many a time I saw them go Out on the flood at morning brave, As the little tugs had them in tow, And the sunlight danced on the wave.
There all day long you could hear the sound Of the caulking iron, the ship's bronze bell, And the clank of the capstan going round As the great tides rose and fell.
The sailors' songs, the Captain's shout, The boatswain's whistle piping shrill, And the roar as the anchor chain runs out,-- I often hear them still.
I can see them still, the sun on their gear, The shining streak as the hulls careen, And the flag at the peak unfurling,--clear As a picture on a screen.
The fog still hangs on the long tide-rips, The gulls go wavering to and fro, But where are all the beautiful ships I knew so long ago?

Written by Bliss Carman |

The Old Gray Wall

 Time out of mind I have stood 
Fronting the frost and the sun, 
That the dream of the world might endure, 
And the goodly will be done.
Did the hand of the builder guess, As he laid me stone by stone, A heart in the granite lurked, Patient and fond as his own? Lovers have leaned on me Under the summer moon, And mowers laughed in my shade In the harvest heat at noon.
Children roving the fields With early flowers in spring, Old men turning to look, When they heard a blue-bird sing, Have seen me a thousand times Standing here in the sun, Yet never a moment dreamed Whose likeness they gazed upon.
Ah, when will ye understand, Mortals who strive and plod,— Who rests on this old gray wall Lays a hand on the shoulder of God!

Written by Bliss Carman |

If Death be Good

 (Sappho LXXIV)
If death be good,
Why do the gods not die?
If life be ill,
Why do the gods still live?
If love be naught,
Why do the gods still love?
If love be all,
What should men do but love?

Written by Bliss Carman |

By the Aurelian Wall

 In Memory of John Keats
By the Aurelian Wall,
Where the long shadows of the centuries fall
From Caius Cestius' tomb,
A weary mortal seeking rest found room
For quiet burial,
Leaving among his friends
A book of lyrics.
Such untold amends A traveller might make In a strange country, bidden to partake Before he farther wends; Who slyly should bestow The foreign reed-flute they had seen him blow And finger cunningly, On one of the dark children standing by, Then lift his cloak and go.
The years pass.
And the child Thoughtful beyond his fellows, grave and mild, Treasures the rough-made toy, Until one day he blows it for clear joy, And wakes the music wild.
His fondness makes it seem A thing first fashioned in delirious dream, Some god had cut and tried, And filled with yearning passion, and cast aside On some far woodland stream,-- After long years to be Found by the stranger and brought over sea, A marvel and delight To ease the noon and pierce the dark blue night, For children such as he.
He learns the silver strain Wherewith the ghostly houses of gray rain And lonely valleys ring, When the untroubled whitethroats make the spring A world without a stain; Then on his river reed, With strange and unsuspected notes that plead Of their own wild accord For utterances no bird's throat could afford, Lifts it to human need.
His comrades leave their play, When calling and compelling far away By river-slope and hill, He pipes their wayward footsteps where he will, All the long lovely day.
Even his elders come.
"Surely the child is elvish," murmur some, And shake the knowing head; "Give us the good old simple things instead, Our fathers used to hum.
" Others at open door Smile when they hear what they have hearkened for These many summers now, Believing they should live to learn somehow Things never known before.
But he can only tell How the flute's whisper lures him with a spell, Yet always just eludes The lost perfection over which he broods; And how he loves it well.
Till all the country-side, Familiar with his piping far and wide, Has taken for its own That weird enchantment down the evening blown,-- Its glory and its pride.
And so his splendid name, Who left the book of lyrics and small fame Among his fellows then, Spreads through the world like autumn--who knows when?-- Till all the hillsides flame.
Grand Pré and Margaree Hear it upbruited from the unresting sea; And the small Gaspereau, Whose yellow leaves repeat it, seems to know A new felicity.
Even the shadows tall, Walking at sundown through the plain, recall A mound the grasses keep, Where once a mortal came and found long sleep By the Aurelian Wall.

Written by Bliss Carman |

The Vagabonds

 We are the vagabonds of time, 
And rove the yellow autumn days, 
When all the roads are gray with rime 
And all the valleys blue with haze.
We came unlooked for as the wind Trooping across the April hills, When the brown waking earth had dreams Of summer in the Wander Kills.
How far afield we joyed to fare, With June in every blade and tree! Now with the sea-wind in our hair We turn our faces to the sea.
We go unheeded as the stream That wanders by the hill-wood side, Till the great marshes take his hand And lead him to the roving tide.
The roving tide, the sleeping hills, These are the borders of that zone Where they may fare as fancy wills Whom wisdom smiles and calls her own.
It is a country of the sun, Full of forgotten yesterdays, When Time takes Summer in his care, And fills the distance of her gaze.
It stretches from the open sea To the blue mountains and beyond; The world is Vagabondia To him who is a vagabond.
In the beginning God made man Out of the wandering dust, men say; And in the end his life shall be A wandering wind and blown away.
We are the vagabonds of time, Willing to let the world go by, With joy supreme, with heart sublime, And valor in the kindling eye.
We have forgotten where we slept, And guess not where we sleep to-night, Whether among the lonely hills In the pale streamers' ghostly light We shall lie down and hear the frost Walk in the dead leaves restlessly, Or somewhere on the iron coast Learn the oblivion of the sea.
It matters not.
And yet I dream Of dreams fulfilled and rest somewhere Before this restless heart is stilled And all its fancies blown to air.
Had I my will! .
The sun burns down And something plucks my garment's hem: The robins in their faded brown Would lure me to the south with them.
'Tis time for vagabonds to make The nearest inn.
Far on I hear The voices of the Northern hills Gather the vagrants of the year.
Brave heart, my soul! Let longings be! We have another day to wend.
For dark or waylay what care we Who have the lords of time to friend? And if we tarry or make haste, The wayside sleep can hold no fear.
Shall fate unpoise, or whim perturb, The calm-begirt in dawn austere? There is a tavern, I have heard, Not far, and frugal, kept by One Who knows the children of the Word, And welcomes each when day is done.
Some say the house is lonely set In Northern night, and snowdrifts keep The silent door; the hearth is cold, And all my fellows gone to sleep.
Had I my will! I hear the sea Thunder a welcome on the shore; I know where lies the hostelry And who should open me the door.

Written by Bliss Carman |

The Ships of Yule

 When I was just a little boy,
Before I went to school,
I had a fleet of forty sail
I called the Ships of Yule;
Of every rig, from rakish brig
And gallant barkentine,
To little Fundy fishing boats
With gunwales painted green.
They used to go on trading trips Around the world for me, For though I had to stay on shore My heart was on the sea.
They stopped at every port to call From Babylon to Rome, To load with all the lovely things We never had at home; With elephants and ivory Bought from the King of Tyre, And shells and silks and sandal-wood That sailor men admire; With figs and dates from Samarcand, And squatty ginger-jars, And scented silver amulets From Indian bazaars; With sugar-cane from Port of Spain, And monkeys from Ceylon, And paper lanterns from Pekin With painted dragons on; With cocoanuts from Zanzibar, And pines from Singapore; And when they had unloaded these They could go back for more.
And even after I was big And had to go to school, My mind was often far away Aboard the Ships of Yule.

Written by Bliss Carman |

I Loved Thee Atthis in the Long Ago

 (Sappho XXIII)
I loved thee, Atthis, in the long ago,
When the great oleanders were in flower
In the broad herded meadows full of sun.
And we would often at the fall of dusk Wander together by the silver stream, When the soft grass-heads were all wet with dew And purple-misted in the fading light.
And joy I knew and sorrow at thy voice, And the superb magnificence of love,— The loneliness that saddens solitude, And the sweet speech that makes it durable,— The bitter longing and the keen desire, The sweet companionship through quiet days In the slow ample beauty of the world, And the unutterable glad release Within the temple of the holy night.
O Atthis, how I loved thee long ago In that fair perished summer by the sea!

Written by Bliss Carman |

A Sea Child

 The lover of child Marjory 
Had one white hour of life brim full; 
Now the old nurse, the rocking sea, 
Hath him to lull.
The daughter of child Marjory Hath in her veins, to beat and run, The glad indomitable sea, The strong white sun.

Written by Bliss Carman |

Earth Voices

I heard the spring wind whisper
Above the brushwood fire,
"The world is made forever
Of transport and desire.
"I am the breath of being, The primal urge of things; I am the whirl of star dust, I am the lift of wings.
"I am the splendid impulse That comes before the thought, The joy and exaltation Wherein the life is caught.
"Across the sleeping furrows I call the buried seed, And blade and bud and blossom Awaken at my need.
"Within the dying ashes I blow the sacred spark, And make the hearts of lovers To leap against the dark.
"II I heard the spring light whisper Above the dancing stream, "The world is made forever In likeness of a dream.
"I am the law of planets, I am the guide of man; The evening and the morning Are fashioned to my plan.
"I tint the dawn with crimson, I tinge the sea with blue; My track is in the desert, My trail is in the dew.
"I paint the hills with color, And in my magic dome I light the star of evening To steer the traveller home.
"Within the house of being, I feed the lamp of truth With tales of ancient wisdom And prophecies of youth.
"III I heard the spring rain murmur Above the roadside flower, "The world is made forever In melody and power.
"I keep the rhythmic measure That marks the steps of time, And all my toil is fashioned To symmetry and rhyme.
"I plow the untilled upland, I ripe the seeding grass, And fill the leafy forest With music as I pass.
"I hew the raw, rough granite To loveliness of line, And when my work is finished, Behold, it is divine! "I am the master-builder In whom the ages trust.
I lift the lost perfection To blossom from the dust.
"IV Then Earth to them made answer, As with a slow refrain Born of the blended voices Of wind and sun and rain, "This is the law of being That links the threefold chain: The life we give to beauty Returns to us again.

Written by Bliss Carman |

The Heart of Night

 When all the stars are sown 
Across the night-blue space, 
With the immense unknown, 
In silence face to face.
We stand in speechless awe While Beauty marches by, And wonder at the Law Which wears such majesty.
How small a thing is man In all that world-sown vast, That he should hope or plan Or dream his dream could last! O doubter of the light, Confused by fear and wrong, Lean on the heart of night And let love make thee strong! The Good that is the True Is clothed with Beauty still.
Lo, in their tent of blue, The stars above the hill!