Gilbert Parker (1862-1932)

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When you and I have play'd the little hour,
Have seen the tall subaltern Life to Death
Yield up his sword; and, smiling, draw the breath,
The first long breath of freedom; when the flower
Of Recompense hath flutter'd to our feet,
As to an actor's; and, the curtain down,
We turn to face each other all alone--
Alone, we two, who never yet did meet,
Alone, and absolute, and free: O then,
O then, most dear, how shall be told the tale?
Clasp'd hands, press'd lips, and so clasp'd hands again;
No words. But as the proud wind fills the sail,
My love to yours shall reach, then one deep moan
Of joy, and then our infinite. Alone.

Art's Use

Art's use! what is it but to touch the springs
Of nature? But to hold a torch up for
Humanity in Life's large corridor,
To guide the feet of peasants and of kings!
What is it but to carry union through
Thoughts alien to thoughts kindred, and to merge
The lines of colour that should not diverge,
And give the sun a window to shine through!
What is it but to make the world have heed
For what its dull eyes else would hardly scan!
To draw in a stark light a shameless deed,
And show the fashion of a kingly man!
To cherish honour, and to smite all shame,
To lend hearts voices, and give thoughts a name!

Love's Comradeship

It is enough that in this burdened time
The soul sees all its purposes aright.
The rest--what does it matter? Soon the night
Will come to whelm us, then the morning chime.
What does it matter, if but in the way
One hand clasps ours, one heart believes us true;
One understands the work we try to do,
And strives through Love to teach us what to say?
Between me and the chilly outer air
Which blows in from the world, there standeth one
Who draws Love's curtains closely everywhere,
As God folds down the banners of the sun.
Warm is my place about me, and above,
Where was the raven, I behold the dove.

Text of "Reunited" from The Book of Sorrow. Texts of "Art's Use" and "Love's Comradeship" from A Century of Canadian Sonnets.