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Marching Men

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Under the level winter sky
I saw a thousand Christs go by.
They sang an idle song and free
As they went up to calvary.

Careless of eye and coarse of lip,
They marched in holiest fellowship.
That heaven might heal the world, they gave
Their earth-born dreams to deck the grave.

With souls unpurged and steadfast breath
They supped the sacrament of death.
And for each one, far off, apart,
Seven swords have rent a woman's heart.


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Marching Men

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  • Probably no other Canadian writer has suffered such a plunge in reputation as Marjorie Pickthall. Once she was thought to be the best Canadian poet of her generation. Now her work, except for two or three anthologized pieces, goes unread. The fact is that her initial popularity was based upon extraliterary criteria. Her rejection of modernism in style and attitude made her the darling of conservative Canadian critics. She was also viewed as a genteel alternative to Robert Service and Tom MacInnes, who were widely read by the general public but abhorred by many of the literati of the day. But she has fallen victim to time. Service has retained a body of devoted readers, which Pickthall has not, and modernism has replaced nineteenth-century romantic verse.

    Marjorie Lowry Christie Pickthall was born on 14 September 1883 in Gunnersby, Middlesex, England. When she was six her family moved to Toronto, where...

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