White grew her face as the thorn’s tender bloom,
White as the mist from the valley of doom!
Swift was her going—her head on my breast
Drooped like a flower that winter has pressed—
Elana, Elana! My strong one, my white one!
Empty the arms that your beauty had blessed.
My father lived his three-score years; my son lived
One looked long back on work well done, and one had all to do—
Yet which the better served his world, I know not, nor do you!
Life taught my father all her lore till he grew wise
She did but whisper to my son before she turned away—
Yet which her deepest secret held only they two might say.
Peace brought my father restful days, with love and
fame for wage;
War gave my son an unmarked grave and an unwritten page—
Who shall declare which gift conveyed the greater heritage?
Spring came in with a red-wing’s feather
And yellow clumps of the wild marshmallow—
O happy bird, can you tell me whether
In distant France they have April weather?
And little pools that are sunny and shallow?
My soul is awake and my pulse is racing—
My heart is aware that the birds are mating—
Oh, my heart’s like a cloud that the wind is chasing
O’er the earth’s green blur with its silver tracing
To that sad France where there’s someone waiting!
O Spring! begone with your too-sweet clover
And all your bees with honey to carry—
Come again when the war is over,
Come, dear Spring, when you bring my lover!
Yet come no more, should he tarry . . . tarry!
Oh, to be in Canada now that Spring is merry,
Happy apple blossoms gay against the smiling green;
Here the lilac’s purple plume and here the pink of cherry,
Hillsides just a drift of bloom with clover in between!
Oh, to be in Canada! there’s a road that rambles
Through a leafing maple-wood and up a windy hill,
Velvet pussy-willows press soft hands amid the brambles
Fringing round a sky-filled pool where cattle drink their fill.
Oh, to be in Canada! there’s a farmhouse hidden
Where the hollow meets the hill and Spring’s first footsteps show—
Not a drop of honey there to any bee forbidden,
Not a cherry on a tree but all the robins know!
Oh, to be in Canada, now that Spring is calling
Sweet, so sweet it breaks the heart to let its sweetness through,
Oh, to breast the windy hill while yet the dew is falling—
Waking all the meadow-larks to carol in the blue!
Smile upon us, Canada! None shall fail who love
While they hold a memory of your fields where flowers are—
High the task to keep unstained the skies that bend above you,
Proud the life that shields you from the flaming wind of war!