01 August 2022

Agnes Maule Machar's Perfect August Day

Ah, August, month of my birth. I've always found it too hot and too humid – rarely more so than this year. In "The Passing of Père La Brosse," Agnes Maule Machar notes: 
...August nights are cool
In these north regions. Summer goes so soon!
I shouldn't complain.

"The Passing of Père La Brosse" is one of the longer poems in Miss Machar's Lays of the 'True North' and Other Canadian Poems (Toronto: Copp, Clark, 1899). "An August Morning," more typical in length, was read Saturday morning during a visit to Agnes Maule Machar Park in Gananoque, Ontario.

      In gleam of pale translucent amber woke
          The perfect August day;
      Through rose-flushed bars of pearl and amber broke
          The sunset's golden way. 
      The river seemed transfigured in its flow
          To tide of amethyst,
      Save where it rippled o'er the sands below,
          And granite boulders kissed. 
      The clouds of billowy woodland hung unstirred
          In languorous slumber deep,
      While, from its green recesses, one small bird
          Piped to its brood asleep. 
      The clustering lichens wore a tenderer tint,
          The rocks a warmer glow;
      The emerald dewdrops, in the sunbeam's glint,
          Gemmed the rich moss below. 
      Our birchen shallop idly stranded lay
          Half mirrored in the stream,
      Wild roses drooped, glassed in the tiny bay,
          Ethereal as a dream! 
      You sat upon your rock, enthroned a queen,
          As on a granite throne,
      And all that world of loveliness serene
         Held but us twain alone. 
      Nay! but we felt another presence there,
          Around, below, above;
      It breathed a poem through the fragrant air
          Its name was LOVE!

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