“A Happy New Year” by Adelaide M. Plumptre (1874 – 1948)
Adelaide M. Plumptre was a highly significant contributor to modern Canadian literature development, a pioneering Canadian feminist local Toronto politician and above all a humanitarian who worked for decades in Toronto to relieve human suffering especially Canadian WW1 war veterans and their families. She deserves for her political and humanitarian work to be far better known. Her war related poetry as well was very well received contemporaneously as we shall see in a future blog post!
How can we speak of happiness when din of war
Rings round the world,
And ‘mid the roar
The wings of Peace are furled?
How dare we speak of happiness when homes are wrecked,
The lands laid waste;
While Death, unchecked,
Reaps his cold sheaves in haste?
How can we speak of happiness while baby hands
Implore for bread?
Mute the mother stands.
No tears left not to shed.
How may we speak of happiness when yearning hearts
Bewail their lost?
What human arts
May reckon up War’s cost?
Yet, watching, may we see, ‘mid tumult and ‘mid loss,
In death and fear,
Still to the Cross
The suff’ring world draws near.
When earthly joys dissolve; when, as a dream, they fade;
Then wakened eyes
See through the shade
The Light of light arise.
See! Hate doth kindle love and Mercy springs from pain;
Wrath works God’s will;
Kings rise and wane
His purpose to fulfill.
Now shrines the rainbow’s promise o’er the storm-dark skies
With persistent gleam;
And Faith descries
The Prince of Peace supreme.”
Source: “The Letter Leaflet. The Organ of The Woman’s Auxiliary to Missionary Society of the Church of England in Canada.” Toronto, Ontario: W.A. M.S.C.E. Volume XXVI, Issue No. 3, January 1915, page 82