Verse > Anthologies > William Wilfred Campbell, ed. > The Oxford Book of Canadian Verse
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William Wilfred Campbell, comp.  The Oxford Book of Canadian Verse.  1913.
 
The Poet Calls
By Alan Sullivan (1868–1947)
 
FILL me with fire and rapture! Gird me with speech divine
  That the word of my mouth be music, that the chord of my speech be wine;
For the soul that trembles within me would marvellous things unfold,
  Tho’ the world is weary of singing and the eyes of the world are cold.
 
I am the deathless vision, the voice of memorial years,        5
  The Prince of the earth’s rejoicing, the Prophet and Priest of tears!
Have I not tasted rapture, have I not loved and died,
  Mounted the peaks of passion, with you been crucified?
 
Tears and kisses and laughter, arms in a linked embrace,
  Magical union of body, and glory of magical face:        10
These—shall I sing of them sweetly? I know when the lovers stray
  In the hush where the cloistered woodland broods over the wistful day.
 
Would you I bring my music? I’ll pipe where the toilers go;
  And through your sweat and labour the strain of my song shall flow,
Dulcet sweet for your comfort, winged with a delicate fire,        15
  The shout of a strong heart chanting to the lift of the soul’s desire.
 
Come! I will lead you softly, through floods that are smooth and deep,
  And trailed with shimmering curtain of dream-embroidered sleep,
To the dim mysterious portal, where the spirit of man may see
  The fold of the veil dividing himself from eternity.        20
 
And whether you stay to hearken and drink of my healing spring,
  Or turn from the plaint of my tender articulate whispering—
Ere ever ye came,—I was ancient; and after ye pass,—I come,
  The voice that shall rise in rapture when the moan of the earth is dumb.
 
 
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