Music of earth By Bliss Carman; Ryerson Poetry Chapbook Series published by Ronald P. Frye and Co, Book Publishers, Toronto Canada. Poems by Twentieth Century Canadian poets, Cover art by Brittany Roberts.
“Bliss Carman was the great-granddad of United Empire Loyalists who fled to Nova Scotia after the American Revolution, settling in New Brunswick (then part of Nova Scotia). His literary roots run deep with an ancestry that includes a mother who was a descendant of Daniel Bliss of Concord, Massachusetts, the great-grandfather of Ralph Waldo Emerson. Also on his mother’s side, he was a first cousin to another famous Canadian poet, Sir Charles G. D. Roberts. His sister was married to the botanist and historian William Francis Ganong.
“Carman was educated at the University of New Brunswick, the University of Edinburgh, Harvard University and New York University. After relocating to New York City, Carman became influential as an editor and writer for the Independent, the Cosmopolitan, the Atlantic Monthly, the Chap Book and other literary journals. He is also well known for his anthology and editing work on The World’s Best Poetry (10 volumes, 1904) and The Oxford Book of American Verse (1927).
“After 1909, he lived in New Canaan, Connecticut but became a corresponding Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. In 1928, the Society awarded him its Lorne Pierce Medal.
“Bliss Carman died at the age of 68 in New Canaan, Connecticut. His body was returned home and interred in the Forest Hill Cemetery in Fredericton, New Brunswick.”
From “Music of Earth”:
Lord Of My Heart’s Elation
Lord of my heart’s elation,
Spirit of things unseen,
Be thou my aspiration
Consuming and serene!
Bear up, bear out, bear onward
This mortal soul alone,
To selfhood or oblivion,
Incredibly thine own,
As the foamheads are loosened
And blown along the sea,
Or sink and merge forever
In that which bids them be.
I, too, must climb in wonder,
Uplift at thy command,
Be one with my frail fellows
Beneath the wind’s strong hand,
A fleet and shadowy column
Of dust or mountain rain,
To walk the earth a moment
And be dissolved again.
Be thou my exaltation
Or fortitude of mien,
Lord of the world’s elation,
Thou breath of things unseen!
The Dancers of the Field
The wind went combing through the grass,
The tall white daisies rocked and bowed;
Such ecstasy that never was
Possessed the shining multitude.
They turned their faces to the sun,
And danced the radiant morn away;
Of all his brave eye looked upon,
His daughters of delight were they.
And when the round and yellow moon,
Like a pale petal of the dusk
Blown loose, above the sea-rim shone,
They gave me no more need to ask
How immortality is named;
For I remembered like a dream
How ages since my spirit flamed
To wear their guise and dance with them.
Featuring original artwork by Brittany Roberts.