Monday, 1 January 2018

Departure - W. Wilfred Campbell

Old house now ruined, wrecked and gray,
    Home once enshrined of love's delight
And all glad promise of the May,
    Now hushed in shades of wintry night:—

Once garment of a thousand loves,
    Now but a shroud of glooming stone;—
While sad October moans and roves
    Old house, old house, we are alone!

We are alone; yea, you and I,
    Who dreamed old summers in their prime;
Now sad and late, to see them die
    Along this ruined verge of time.

Old rooms now empty, once so bright,—
    Stair-cases climbed of gladdening feet,
Dark windows erstwhile tilled with light
    Where now but rains of autumn beat:—

Where now but lorn months call and call
    And sea and gust and night complain,—
With ghost-boughs shadowing on the wall,
    Or dead vines knocking at the pane.

Old place, whose ceilings, wall and floors
    Still redolent of love and May;
Once more, once more I leave your doors,
    Into the night I take my way.

Huge yawning hearths, once flaming bright
    On many a well-loved face and form
Long gathered out unto the night
    To meet the vastness and the storm:—

Into the night; where I, too, go,
    Beyond your sheltering walls and doors;
Where death's October drives his woe
    Over a thousand midnight moors.—

Beyond your sheltering, where I beat
    To sleep with stars of dark o'ergleamed;
Or breast the night of moan and sleet
    To meet that mom a world hath dreamed.

Hath dreamed? Hope-hungering heart hath read,
    And carolled morning-lifted lark!
Yea, back of all this muffled dread
    Perchance some splendour rifts the dark.—

Yea, though no magic reach its gleams,
    Nor heart of doubting prove it true:—
Old house, beloved, of my dead dreams,
    While I go forth from love and yon.

W. Wilfred Campbell (1858 - 1918) Canada
Source: A poem written by W. Wilfred Campbell and privately issued to his friends for the new year 1899 [microform], 1899. Collection University of Alberta libraries microfilm

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