I've been researching Pauline Johnson for a new short story I'm working on. She spent four summer vacations in Rosseau, quite close to where I live. She loved to paddle her canoe in early mornings, and I love her poem about the Shadow River here in Rosseau. This is what it looked like when I was out on the lake this morning. The storm came soon after and lasted most of the day.
MUSKOKA - E. Pauline Johnson
A stream of tender gladness
Of filmy sun, and opal tinted skies;
Of warm midsummer air that lightly lies
In mystic rings,
Where softly swings
The music of a thousand wings
That almost tones to sadness.
Midway t'wixt earth and heaven,
A bubble in the pearly air, I seem
To float upon the sapphire floor, a dream
Of clouds of sno,
Drift with my drifting, dim and slow,
As twilight turns to even.
The little fern-leaf, bending
Upon the brink, its green reflection greets,
And kisses soft the shadow it meets
With touch so fine,
The border line
The keenest vision can't define
So perfect is the blending.
The far, fir trees that cover
The brownish hills with needles green and gold,
The arching elms o'erhead, vinegrown and old,
Beneath me far,
Where not a ripple moves to mar
If I but dip my paddle blade;
And it is mine alone.
O! pathless world of seeming!
O! pathless life of mine whose deep ideal
Is more my own than ever was the real.
For others Fame
And Love's red flame,
And yellow gold: I only claim
The shadows and the dreaming.
Sharon Frayne is a writer and artist. She is a member of the Canadian Author's Association, the Niagara Writer's Circle and the Pumphouse Art Gallery. She looks for the universal experience and the mystery in everyday things.