A Celebration of Women Writers

"Arthur S. Bourinot" [Arthur Stanley Bourinot] (1893-1969) by John Garvin, (1872-1934)
Garvin, John William, ed. Canadian Poets. Toronto, Canada: McClelland, Goodchild & Stewart, Publishers, 1916. pp. 463-466.

Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom

[Page 463]

Arthur S. Bourinot

The name Bourinot stands for a good deal in Canadian letters, and it is gratifying to observe that the mantle of a gifted father gives promise, in this little volume of poems, of worthily descending to a literary son . . . . . There is a good deal of promise in 'Laurentian Lyrics and Other Poems.' The meaning throughout the poems is always clear, and there is no straining after effect. The poetic conception is, however, yet lacking in that strength which comes from a higher vision and deeper realization of life, for as yet, using the words of Tennyson, 'Sorrow has not ruled our author's life. Divine dissatisfaction and suffering are the altar stairs whereby genius develops and bears goodly fruit.'–'The Globe,' Toronto.

The sonnet 'To the Memory of Rupert Brooke' is an admirable piece of work.–'The Literary Digest.'

There is a delicacy and fragrance about them; they breathe the love of nature's wide spaces.–'The Evening Telegram,' Toronto.

[Page 464]

MR. ARTHUR STANLEY BOURINOT, B.A., was born in Ottawa, Oct. 3rd, 1893, of native Canadian parents,–his father, the late Sir John Bourinot, K.C.M.G., Clerk of the House of Commons and an author of repute, and his mother, Isabelle Cameron, a daughter of the late Mr. John Cameron, of Toronto–and his education was received in the public school, in the Ottawa Collegiate Institute, and in University College, Toronto.

After graduation in 1915, he became a civil servant in the Department of Indian Affairs at Ottawa, but in a few months was granted leave of absence to accept a commission as lieutenant in the 77th Overseas Battalion.

Lady Bourinot resides in Ottawa.

In reply to a question or two, Mr. Bourinot writes:

I never went in much for sports but always did a lot of walking. Most of my summers have been spent camping at Kingsmere in the Laurentians, whence I got the title of my book.

Laurentian Lyrics and Other Poems was published in December, 1915. It contains but twenty-four short lyrics–not much in quantity–but the quality is that of a true singer, piping his first notes with a sure instinct and with the joy of creation.

To the Memory of Rupert Brooke

HE loved to live his life with laughing lips,
And ever with gold sunlight on his eyes,
To dream on flowered uplands as they rise,
O'er which the moon like burnished metal slips;
To hear the gypsy song in sails of ships,
And wander o'er the waves 'neath azure skies,
Seeing the splendour of tired day which dies
And into lone oblivion slowly dips.

But suddenly his country clashed in arms,
And peace was crushed and trampled like pale bloom,
Beneath the careless feet of man and beast,–
The world was turmoil, stirred from west to east,
And song and gladness had no longer room,
For drum and bugle called with loud alarms.

[Page 465]

Autumn Silence

HOW still the quiet fields this autumn day,
  The piled up sheaves no more retain their gold,
  And ploughmen drive their horses o'er the mould,
While up into the hills and far away
The white road winds to where the sun's last ray
  Mantles the heavens in a scarlet fold
  Of glorious colour, of radiance untold,
And then the twilight turns the red to gray.

How still the quiet fields this autumn eve;
  And yet we know that here, in other lands,
Red war still causes mothers' hearts to grieve,
  And lives are spent as countless as the sands.
O God, we ask that Thou wilt put to flight
The shadows of this quiet autumn night!

A Flower in the City Street

I FOUND a flower in the city street,
Crumpled and crushed it lay,
Trodden down by the careless feet
Of all who passed that way.

Its colour was not o' the fairy green,
Grey was its gypsy face,
But still it wore a wisp o' sheen
The world could not efface.

It fell like a gem from a woman's breast,
Loosed like a frightened thing,
And I recalled the haunting rest
Of meadows in the spring.

I found a flower in the city street,
With red heart crushed to grey,
And life to me seemed sweet, so sweet,
Bright as the break of day.

[Page 466]

Returning

I CAME once more 'midst the Laurentian Hills,
Where love and I with laughter used to stray,
And wandered o'er green uplands where life stills
And fauns and fairies dance at dying day.
The pallid trilliums nodded fast asleep,
With pale, white faces peering through the gloom;
A sweet and subtle incense seemed to creep
Across the silence of the world's broad room;

And breath o' dusk was sweet in lilac time
And dark, brown throated birds burst forth in song,
While through the valley rang the evening chime,
And little stars flowered the skies ere long;
Dreaming, I trod the shadowed, dusty way;
Alas, with dawn, my dreams were dimmed and grey!

The Harvest Wind

LAST night the wind swept swiftly o'er the fields,
Where late the wheat swayed golden in the sun,
And where no more the singing reaper wields
His scythe, for now the harvest toil is done.

The wind stole quietly, but with chilling breath,
And voice as seeking, seeking without end,
And low, its murmur said, 'I bring not Death
But only sleep, the lover and the friend.'

The wind swept past and onward o'er the hills,
With restless pace, unwearying in its quest,
And in my heart I felt the fear that stills,
For swift I heard its beating in my breast.

The whispering of strange voices filled the night;
I dreamed the dead were drifting on the wind,
Returning to their land with hastening flight;
And still I hear the words the wind's voice dinned.

[Pages 467-471]

Index omitted

[Page 472]

Warwick Bro.'s & Rutter, Limited, Printers and Bookbinders, Toronto, Canada.

Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom