Katharine Lee Bates

(1859-1929 / United States)

To Canada - Poem by Katharine Lee Bates

OUR neighbor of the undefended bound,
Friend of the hundred years of peace, our kin,
Fellow adventurer on the enchanted ground
Of the New World, must not the pain within
Our hearts for this wide anguish of the war
Be keenest for your pain? Is not our grief,
That aches with all bereavement, tenderest for
The tragic crimson on your maple-leaf?
Bitter our lot, in this world-clash of faiths,
To stand aloof and bide our hour to serve;
The glorious dead are living; we are wraiths,
Dim watchers of the conflict's changing curve,
Yet proud for human valor, spirit true
In scorn of body, manhood on the crest
Of consecration, dearly proud for you,
Who sped to arms like knighthood to the Quest.
From quaint Quebec to stately Montreal,
Along the rich St. Lawrence, o'er the steep
Roofs of the Rockies rang the bugle-call,
And east and west, deep answering to deep,
Your sons surged forth, the simple, stooping folk
Of shop and wheatfield sprung to hero size
Swiftly as e'er your Northern Lights awoke
To streaming splendor quiet evening skies.
Seek not your lost beneath the tortured sod
Of France and Flanders, where in desperate strife
They battled greatly for the cause of God;
But when above the snow your heavens are rife
With those upleaping lusters, find them there,
Ardors of sacrifice, celestial sign,
Aureole your Angel shall forever wear,
Praising the irresistible Divine.

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Poem Submitted: Friday, April 16, 2010

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