Who was Elizabeth Pearl SALISBURY BRUMMEL?


In short, she was James Brummel’s great-grandmother. As a farmer’s wife, in rural Ontario in the early 1900’s, few from her community would have been educated enough to appreciate her poetry. In fact, her self-published book “HOME POEMS” was passed down with the common understanding that she was a terrible writer. But when one of her descendants read the book, who also fancied himself a poet, he was taken aback. Here was a truly kindred spirit, in a direct line, from one Brummel to another. And here was a voice, a clearly eloquent Canadian woman’s voice, from a time and place dominated entirely by men, and men’s version of art and history. Her book is an incredible document, and so, lovingly preserved here in cyberspace.

A Poem From Out the Dawn

I write me a poem.
I write me a poem, I wot.
I write me a poem from out the dawn.
Ah, me! have I forgot?
I must have me a theme–
A theme and then a thought.

And where will I get me a theme?
Will I bid me a thought to come?
A thought for a theme and some ask:
“Where do you get a poem?”

A thousand years ago and more,
A man woke from dawn’s repose;
He looked with love on all mankind
For he felf the scent of the rose,
And a longing within him burned and burned
To tell of his love and the rose.

But he died without telling of roses and love;
There were so few to understand.
Only a lass of ten was left
Who had felt the clasp of his hand,
As they sensed together the sigh of the wind,
And the beauty in sea and land.

Now the years have rolled on and on;
They also have rolled to me;
And I have the urge disturbing me
To tell of the beauty of land and sea,
The scent of the rose, the power of love,
And little children’s glee.

But do I tell of the things of to-day?
Ah, no! but the things that have been–
Have been although they are now–
And the thoughts I think
Are the thoughts of men
A thousand years ago.

So I write me a poem…
I write me a poem–
A poem from out the dawn,
A poem that is not mine at all
Just one I am passing on.

In Memory of Eliza Moy

She was waiting for the summons
Of the boatman at the shore.
She had heard the Master calling
Saying “Come Beloved, come o’er.”

Long life had been her portion,
And, she lived it every day
In lowly love and service
To her God who led the way.

“She has done what she could”
Was the text they chose for her:
And in truth she Christ anointed
In her soul’s deep sepulchre.

She culled her earthly pleasure
From the flowers or a bird,
In joy of song, and in
The reading of God’s word.

In the greeting of a neighbor,
In her kindly, friendly way;
In the rainbow’s lovely arch;
In the shower’s freshening spray.

I have heard her talk of England
With its lanes and gardens fair;
Of its lovely hawthorne hedges
And how springtime came over there.

Of its perfumed apple blossoms
And once more she seemed in truth
To be far away in England,
Her land of birth and youth.

When earth’s light was slowly waning
She was heard to whisper low
Of the joy of meeting loved ones
Who had gone so long ago.

She has lived and loved and laboured
Where God her feet did place;
And our lives have made richer
Through ger living by His grace.

Song of Youth

Let me sing while in Life’s morning
‘Fore the sun its shadows cast;
Let me greet with lark the dawning,
Ere its freshening power is past.

Let me sing while youth is counting
Hours as naught, and see on wing
Visions of a vast to-morrow
With my song all conquering.

Let me sing while sands keep ebbing
Under press of Time, and Tides;
Gather sunlights from the pebbles
Intp Beauty that abides.

Let me sing while in Life’s morning,
‘Fore the sun its shadows cast.
Let me greet with lark the dawning
Ere its freshening power is past.

My Little Room Back Home

I know a room,
A small still room;
It comes to me in the night.
I see the moon steal over the ledge,
And flood the walls with light;
Those trellised walls of gay pink buds
Are faded now a bit,
And on the small low rocking chair
Small fairy forms do sit.

The smooth white sheets
With slip and spread
Once more are crumpled out;
And on the dresser brush and comb
And what not’s tossed about.
I see the ruffled curtains sway
To the whim of every breeze;
And phantom flowers upon the sill
The night winds softly tease.

Dear God; be kind to that wee room;
And keep the key for me;
As through the years I wandering go;
Through years so strange to me.

To Canadian Womanhood

Born where the winds of heaven
Are laden with odours of pine:
Also the sweetness of cedar
With gardens of basil and thyme.

Born in the shade of the maple;
Be it budding in spring’s soft green
Or dressed in a myriad of colours
As in autumn it is to be seen.

Born where the waters freshen
Forever the mountain-side.
Its clearness and sparkle never lessen
From summer ‘til yuletide

Born in the land of freedom
Where each in his way worships God.
A heritage she has far greater
Than any duke or lord.

Whos ancestors had to worship
As told by a bishop or priest:
And rejoiced when persecuted
To come to this land of peace.

Born of proud English lineage
Or none, as the case may be;
Within herself she retaineth
All the virtues of quality.

And may God ever keep her
Ever free from the courts of sin:
For no woman ever stood higher
In the lives and loves of men.

Oh Canada! what a glorious promise
In lives which seek only  the good.
Oh God! what a glorious harvest
To reap from its womanhood.

Giver of Gifts

O Giver of Gifts, in Thine own wise way
Give me in the years ahead,
The grace to ask from Thy  bountiful store
My portion of Living Bread.

O Giver of Gifts in Thine own wise way
Give me the power to see
The my’stry deep in the lengthening day,
The beauty of land and sea.

O Giver of Gifts, in Thine own wise way
Give trust that is grounded deep,
Though rough the way in the darkening night
May I still Thy footsteps keep.

O Giver of Gifts, when the years are full
When reach I Thy throne above,
Then may I come rendering life that I owe
Re-de-emed by Jesus’ love.

“Keely, Keely Over”

“Keely, keely over”
Throw the ball again
“Keely, keely over”
Shout the glad refrain.

Throw the ball above the roof,
Caught: now do not cheat.
Now we’ll throw it back again
The glad refrain repeat.

“Keely, keely over”
Throw the ball again
“Keely, keely over”
Shout the glad refrain.

Boys and girls of other years
Do you hear them shout?
“We’ll choose up sides again
When from school we’re out?”

Boy and girls of other years
Do you hear them call?
Do you throw the ball again
Over the old school wall?

Do you hear the laughter
Joyous, loud and free?–
Measured time in magic walls
Thoughtless tenants we.

Memory brings back again
By the old school wall
Down the aisles of the years
I salute you — all.

On the Trail

Oh I’ll follow the trail of the Indian maid
As she passed here long ago
When the dew was deep on blade and bough
And the dawn was all aglow.

Through the heat and glare of the noonday sun,
I’ll rest me by cliff and stream;
With nothing to fear from man or beast
Of her will I lie and dream.

Did she lie and dream of a painted youth
Who was bravest of all the brave?
Did she envy  the maids of the chieftain’s tent?
Did she think with the mind of a slave?

Or was she as free as the winds that blow
And wist not where nor why
But  chose her mate with woman’s charm,
“For better or worse,” as I?

O Indian Maid of the woodland wild,
When you passed in the evening’s glow
Your spirit lingered to roam with mine
Through these forests of long ago.