"The Last Room"



Bliss Carman

THERE, close the door!

I shall not need these lodgings any more.

Now that I go, dismantled wall and floor

Reproach me and deplore.

 

“How well,” they say,

“And silently we served you day by day –

Took every mood, as you were sad or gay

In that strange mortal way.”

 

These patient walls

Seem half to know what suffering befalls

The steadfast soul whom destiny appals

And circumstance enthralls.

 

A solitude,

Dim as an orchard, quiet as a wood;

My six mute friends who stolidly withstood

Tempest and turmoil rude;

 

One door, where through

Came human love in little gown and shoe;

One window, where great Nature robed in blue

Smiled benediction too;

 

And one hearthstone,

The kind primeval fire-god made his own –

Bringing us back the wood life we had known,

With lighted log and cone.

 

Here life was spent

To glorify one mortal tenement,

Where freedom turned the key on discontent

And bade the world relent.

 

With one farewell

I leave you now, with not a word to tell

Where comedy and moonshine used to dwell

Within a brick-built cell.

 

In days to be

Others shall laugh here, roister and make free,

Be bold or gay – but no such comedy

As blessed this life for me.

 

In nights to come

Others shall dream here, radiant or glum,

Pondering the book God gives us each to thumb –

Our page to solve and sum –

 

But nevermore

Such moonshine as would tread this square of floor,

And for love’s sake illumine and explore

The dark at sorrow’s core.

 

“The sad Pierrot

Lived here and loved” – how will the story go? –

“Caught rapture from the moment’s zest or woe,

One winter long ago.

 

“Here did Pierrette

Throw dice with destiny to pay love’s debt,

Gay, kind and fearless, without one regret

When the last stake was set.”

 

Peace, peace, fair room –

My peace be with them still, through shine and gloom,

Who here may sojourn, ere they too resume

This search for house and home.

 

Now, to explore!

The impatient wind is in the corridor;

Fate lays a finger on my sleeve once more;

And I must close this door.


Source:  Ross, Malcolm, editor.  Poets of the Confederation.  McClelland and Stewart Ltd, 1960.

Photo Credit to Martha Jane Cordell via FreeImages.com: http://www.freeimages.com/photo/open-door-1482507