James and Mary Ford, eds. Every Day in the Year. 1902.

January 8


By Bliss Carman (1861–1929)

  • A modern French poet whose life was passed in alternate stages of religious ecstasy and deplorable excesses. His genius was undoubted and he has been called “the nineteenth-century Villon.” He died Jan. 8, 1896.

  • AVID of life and love, insatiate vagabond,

    With quest too furious for the grail he would have won,

    He flung himself at the eternal sky, as one

    Wrenching his chains but impotent to burst the bond.

    Yet under the revolt, the revel, the despond,

    What pools of innocence, what crystal benison!

    As through a riven mist that glowers in the sun,

    A stretch of God’s blue calm glassed in a virgin pond.

    Prowler of obscene streets that riot reels along,

    And aisles with incense numb and gardens mad with rose,

    Monastic cells and dreams of dim brocaded lawns,

    Death, which has set the calm of Time upon his song,

    Surely upon his soul has kissed the same repose

    In some fair heaven the Christ has set apart for Fauns.