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Acanthus and Wild Grape   By: (1878-1956)

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Acanthus and Wild Grape


F. O. Call

Author of "In a Belgian Garden"


Publishers Toronto



NOTE: Many of these poems were first published in Canadian Magazines, and the Author wishes to thank the publishers of the University Magazine , the Canadian Magazine , the Westminster , the Canadian Bookman , Canada West , and the Mitre for permission to reprint.



Foreword Acanthus The Old Gods The Obelisk Gray Birds After Tea Through a Long Cloister Cathedral Vespers The Lotus Worshippers The Broken Mast The Lace maker of Burges Rheims Calvary Gone West Peace Hidden Treasure A River Sunset The Madonna An Idol in a Shop Window In a Forest The Golden Bowl On a Swiss Mountain The Nun's Garden You Went Away in Summertime To a Modern Poet The Mystic Ad Episcopi Collegium A Song of the Homeland The Mirror I Made a Little Song Birds The Bluebird's Wing The Answer


Wild Grape To a Greek Statue Omnipresence My Cathedral The Foundry Swiss Sketches (I) After Sunset on Jura (II) Lucerne (III) Lake Leman Visions I, II, III, IV Japanese Prints (I) The Lady with the Yellow Fan (II) Caged Birds (III) Wisteria A Venetian Palace Japanese Iris Japanese Love Songs Cups of Jade The Loon's Cry Prayer


Poetry has been defined as "Thought touched by Emotion," and I know no better working definition, although no doubt more scientific and accurate ones could be found. The best poets of all ages seem to have had this ideal plainly before them, whether consciously or unconsciously, and I cannot see how modern poets can dispense with either thought or emotion if they are to write real poetry. For one is not enough without the other. Take for example the first lines of Master's "Spoon River Anthology."

"Where are Elmer, Herman, Bert, Tom and Charley, The weak of will, the strong of arm, the clown, the boozer, the fighter? All, all, are sleeping on the hill, One passed in a fever, One was buried in a mine, One was killed in a brawl, One died in a jail, One fell from a bridge toiling for children and wife, All, all are sleeping on the hill."

This sounds tragic indeed, but seems to have aroused no emotion on the part of the poet and excites none in his readers. In fact, through the whole poem, emotion is held in check with a strong hand, and only allowed to show itself in some distorted cynicism.

Let us take an example of the opposite extreme where emotion, whether real or fancied, has stifled thought.

O World! O Men! O Sun! to you I cry, I raise my song defiant, proud, victorious, And send this clarion ringing down the sky: "I love, I love, I love, and Love is glorious!"

The definition chosen need not hamper the most "modern" poet nor restrict his choice of subject, for there are few things that cannot awaken both thought and emotion if looked at in the right way. An iron foundry and a Venetian palace have immense possibilities of arousing both elements, and perhaps the foundry has the greater power.

The modern poet has joined the great army of seekers after freedom, that is, he refuses to observe the old conventions in regard to his subjects and his method of treating them. He refuses to be bound by the old restrictions of rhyme and metre, and goes far afield in search of material on which to work. The boldest of the new school would throw overboard all the old forms and write only in free verse, rythmic prose or whatever he may wish to call it. The conservative, on the other hand, clings stubbornly to the old conventions, and will have nothing to do with vers libre or anything that savours of it... Continue reading book >>

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