A Coign Of The Forest

A poem by Madison Julius Cawein

The hills hang woods around, where green, below
Dark, breezy boughs of beech-trees, mats the moss,
Crisp with the brittle hulls of last year's nuts;
The water hums one bar there; and a glow
Of gold lies steady where the trailers toss
Red, bugled blossoms and a rock abuts;
In spots the wild-phlox and oxalis grow
Where beech-roots bulge the loam, protrude across
The grass-grown road and roll it into ruts.

And where the sumach brakes grow dusk and dense,
Among the rocks, great yellow violets,
Blue-bells and wind-flowers bloom; the agaric
In dampness crowds; a Fungus, thick, intense
With gold and crimson and wax-white, that sets
The May-apples along the terraced creek
At bold defiance. Where the old rail-fence
Divides the hollow, there the bee-bird whets
His bill, and there the elder hedge is thick.

No one can miss it; for two cat-birds nest,
Calling all morning, in the trumpet-vine;
And there at noon the pewee sits and floats
A woodland welcome; and his very best
At eve the red-bird sings, as if to sign
The record of its loveliness with notes.
At night the moon stoops over it to rest,
And unreluctant stars. Where waters shine
There runs a whisper as of wind-swept oats.

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