The Solitary Woodsman

When the grey lake-water rushes
  Past the dripping alder-bushes,
    And the bodeful autumn wind
  In the fir-tree weeps and hushes,—
  When the air is sharply damp
  Round the solitary camp,
    And the moose-bush in the thicket
  Glimmers like a scarlet lamp,—
  When the birches twinkle yellow,
 And the cornel bunches mellow,
   And the owl across the twilight
 Trumpets to his downy fellow,—
 When the nut-fed chipmunks romp
 Through the maples’ crimson pomp,
   And the slim viburnum flushes
 In the darkness of the swamp,—
 When the blueberries are dead,
 When the rowan clusters red,
   And the shy bear, summer-sleekened,
 In the bracken makes his bed,—
 On a day there comes once more
 To the latched and lonely door,
   Down the wood-road striding silent,
 One who has been here before.
 Green spruce branches for his head,
 Here he makes his simple bed,
   Crouching with the sun, and rising
 When the dawn is frosty red.
 All day long he wanders wide
 With the grey moss for his guide,
   And his lonely axe-stroke startles
 The expectant forest-side.
 Toward the quiet close of day
 Back to camp he takes his way,
   And about his sober footsteps
 Unafraid the squirrels play.
 On his roof the red leaf falls,
 At his door the bluejay calls,
   And he hears the wood-mice hurry
 Up and down his rough log walls;
 Hears the laughter of the loon
 Thrill the dying afternoon;
   Hears the calling of the moose
 Echo to the early moon.
 And he hears the partridge drumming,
 The belated hornet humming,—
   All the faint, prophetic sounds
 That foretell the winter’s coming.
 And the wind about his eaves
 Through the chilly night-wet grieves,
   And the earth’s dumb patience fills him,
 Fellow to the falling leaves.
Other works by Charles G. D. Roberts ...