By Gerald Lynch
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Extra resources for Bliss Carman: A Reappraisal
Roberts, Arthur Stringer, the Englishman Mitchell Kennerley, and Frank L. Pollock, a young would-be writer from Toronto. 4 But above all, New York meant the opportunity for working steadily and accumulating experience in the literary trade. The Independent job was a good opportunity for a young writer to learn the practical aspects of editing and publishing, and to become more widely known in the United States. On the negative side, however, the salary was minimal, the heavy workload left little time for his own writing, and there were problems with the abstemious publisher.
Far off shore, the sweet low calling Of the bell-buoy on the bar, Warning night of dawn and ruin Lonelily on Arrochar. —"Pulvis et Umbra" 38 There is a good deal more strangeness or originality in such lines than most readers are ready to recognize. " Is there a Maritime Arrochar? ) But the real strangeness in the last verses is in the way that a frail creature racing to its doom becomes the "soul of eager message," the way a bellbuoy's presumably ominous calling is said to be sweet and low. " We may still want to insist that "night" is a metonym of the moth, the container for the contained, whose ruin we must anticipate—more wreckage from the night's blown winnowings which dawn will reveal, leaving us temporarily more lonely.
Yet his poetry was a part of my growing up, and it is 28 not, after all, surprising that his ghost, along with other ghosts, has haunted me from time to time. Like other Canadian school children of my generation, I encountered some of his poems in the schoolbooks: "Daisies," "The Gravedigger," "The Ships of St. John" (with that marvellous stanza— Fair the land lies, full of August, Meadow island, shingly bar, Open barns and breezy twilight, Peace and the mild evening star. —a stanza that I loved because it captured so perfectly the feeling of the landscape where I grew up).