Friday, September 4, 2009

Imagining Walter Blythe's Piper Poem

When I read Rilla of Ingleside, the eighth installment in the Anne of Green Gables series, I found myself very curious about The Piper, a poem her son Walter writes while serving as a soldier during World War I.  L. M. Montgomery never reproduces it for us, though I see that there is an upcoming volume that includes poetry from both Anne and Walter, which makes me wonder whether she might have written the poem at some point.  A bit of investigating told me that she intended it as a tip of the hat to In Flanders Fields, one of the most famous poems to come out of World War I, so when I tried my hand at stepping into Walter's head, that was my model.

The Piper

The Piper calls with dulcet strains
That echo over hills and plains.
He beckons, through a dreamy mist,
And stalwart hearts cannot resist
The song that seeps into our veins.

Upon his path, the crimson stains
Lie undiminished by the rains
Of ages, yet we must enlist;
The Piper calls.

Our struggles are but labor pains,
The price that Providence ordains;
A new world dawns as we persist.
To those we left, whose arms we've missed,
The great and longer task remains.
The Piper calls!

An Abandoned Bird and a Friendly Cat Head South

I recently read Patrick McDonnell's South, a tender tale of a cat who helps a lost bird find its migrating flock.  The book doesn't have any words, nor does it need them.  But I couldn't resist writing a bit about it myself.  Here's a little accompanying poem I wrote.


As autumn dies, the last leaf falls.
Migration calls; the first bird flies.
A silent flap, a hopeful tune.
As one, they rise into the skies.

And yet below, a straggler wakes.
Of all mistakes, the lowest blow.
So far from June, a chilly trap
With miles to go 'midst leaves and snow.

A furry friend at once draws near.
This cat will cheerfully attend
To every need with gentle care
'Til journey's end lies 'round the bend.

Their kinship shelters, strengthens both.
He keeps the oath. Clear as a bell,
Song fills the air. The bird takes heed.
But first, farewell. What tales he'll tell!