William Henry Drummond
Autumn Days - Poem by William Henry Drummond
In dreams of the night I hear the call
Of wild duck scudding across the lake,
In dreams I see the old convent wall,
Where Ottawa's waters surge and break.
But Hercule awakes me ere the sun
Has painted the eastern skies with gold.
Hercule! true knight of the rod and gun
As ever lived in the days of old.
'Arise! tho' the moon hangs high above,
The sun will soon usher in the day,
And the southerly wind that sportsmen love
is blowing across St. Louis Bay.'
The wind is moaning among the trees,
Along the shore where the shadows lie,
And faintly borne on the fresh'ning breeze
From yonder point comes the loon's wild cry.
Like diamonds flashing athwart the tide
The dancing moonbeams quiver and glow,
As out on the deep we swiftly glide
To our distant Mecca, Ile Perrot.
Ile Perrot far to the southward lies,
Pointe Claire on the lee we leave behind,
And eager we gaze with longing eyes,
For faintest sign of the deadly 'blind'.
Past the point where Ottawa's current flows-
A league from St. Lawrence golden
Out in the bay where the wild grass grows
We mark the spot where our ambush stands.
We enter it just as crimson flush
Of morn illumines the hills with light,
And patiently wait the first mad rush
Of pinions soaring in airy flight.
A rustle of wings from over there,
Where all night long on watery bed
The flocks have slept - and the morning air
Rings with the messenger of lead.
Many a pilgrim from far away
Many a stranger from distant seas,
Is dying to-day on St. Louis Bay,
To requiem sung by the southern breeze.
And thus till the sound of the vesper bell
Comes stealing o'er Ottawa's dusky stream,
And the ancient light-house we know so well
Lights up the tide with its friendly gleam.
Then up with the anchor and ply the oar,
For homeward again our course must bear,
Farewell to the 'blind' by Ile Perrot's shore,
And welcome the harbor of old Pointe Claire!
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