Anticipations

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Town Planning Anticipations
written by E. J. Pratt 1921
The Flood-Tide
From The Canadian Forum, June 1921, p. 271


I

A flash of indigo in the air,
A streak of orange edged with black;
A blue-bird skimmed the spruces there,
A redstart followed in his track.

The light grows in the eastern skies,
The deeper shadows are withdrawn,
From marsh and swamp the vapours rise
In the cool cloisters of the dawn.

What loom, a-weaving on the land,
Such colour and fragrance fuses.
Magenta and white on moss and sand,
Azaleas, arethusas?

And higher up along the steeps.
The pink of mountain-laurel;
While lower down the yellow creeps
From celandine and sorrel.

Sea-foam or snow-drift — flecked with spurt
Of flame — upon the grasses spread?
The snow is foam of mitre-wort,
The flame — the ragged robin's red.

II

Where sips the lily of the morning dew
When light winds waken,
And gems that the violets hold
Gently are shaken
To crystalline purple and blue;
And emerald, crimson and gold
From the heart of the rose unfold,
And burst into view:

There at the dawn's first blush
The notes of a brown thrasher fall,
And the importunate voice of the thrush
Blends with a tanager's call;
There under a dragon-fly's wings
A stream carols by with sweet noise,
And slowly a daflfodil swings
To a humming-bird's marvellous poise.


III
In Absentia

Erect and motionless he stood —
His face a hieroglyph of stone,
Stopped was his pulse, chilled was his blood,
And stiff each sinew, nerve and bone.


[p.272 ]

IV

The spell an instant held him, when
His veins were swept by tidal power,
And then life's threescore years and ten
Were measured by a single hour.

The world lay there beneath his eye,
The sun had left the heavens to float
A hand-breadth from him, and the sky
Was but an anchor for his boat.

Fled was the class-room's puny space,
His eye saw but a whirling disk,
That old professor's by-gone face
Looked like a shrivelled asterisk.

What chance had he now to remember
The year held months so saturnine
As ill-starred May and blank September,
With that brute tugging at his line?


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