A Fallen Beech

A poem by Madison Julius Cawein

Nevermore at doorways that are barken
Shall the madcap wind knock and the moonlight;
Nor the circle which thou once didst darken,
Shine with footsteps of the neighbouring moonlight,
Visitors for whom thou oft didst hearken.

Nevermore, gallooned with cloudy laces,
Shall the morning, like a fair freebooter,
Make thy leaves his richest treasure-places;
Nor the sunset, like a royal suitor,
Clothe thy limbs with his imperial graces.

And no more, between the savage wonder
Of the sunset and the moon's up-coming,
Shall the storm, with boisterous hoof-beats, under
Thy dark roof dance, Faun-like, to the humming
Of the Pan-pipes of the rain and thunder.

Oft the Satyr-spirit, beauty-drunken,
Of the Spring called; and the music measure
Of thy sap made answer; and thy sunken
Veins grew vehement with youth, whose pressure
Swelled thy gnarly muscles, winter-shrunken.

And the germs, deep down in darkness rooted,
Bubbled green from all thy million oilets,
Where the spirits, rain-and-sunbeam-suited,
Of the April made their whispering toilets,
Or within thy stately shadow footed.

Oft the hours of blonde Summer tinkled
At the windows of thy twigs, and found thee
Bird-blithe; or, with shapely bodies, twinkled
Lissom feet of naked flowers around thee,
Where thy mats of moss lay sunbeam-sprinkled.

And the Autumn with his gypsy-coated
Troop of days beneath thy branches rested,
Swarthy-faced and dark of eye; and throated
Songs of roaming; or with red hand tested
Every nut-bur that above him floated.

Then the Winter, barren-browed, but rich in
Shaggy followers of frost and freezing,
Made the floor of thy broad boughs his kitchen,
Trapper-like, to camp in; grimly easing
Limbs snow-furred and moccasined with lichen.

Now, alas! no more do these invest thee
With the dignity of whilom gladness!
They unto whose hearts thou once confessed thee
Of thy dreams now know thee not! and sadness
Sits beside thee where, forgot, dost rest thee.

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