A Summer Day

A poem by Madison Julius Cawein

White clouds, like thistledown at fault,
That drift through heaven's azure vault.
The sun beams down; the weedy ground
Vibrates with many an insect sound.
Blackberry-lilies in the noon
Lean to the creek with eyes a-swoon,
Where, in a shallow, silver gleams
Of minnows and a heron dreams
An old road, clouding pale the heat
Behind a slow hoof's muffled beat:
And there, hill-gazing at the skies,
A pond, within whose languor lies
A twinkle, like an eye that smiles
In thought; that with a dream beguiles
The day: a. dream of clouds that drift,
And arms the willow trees uplift,
Protectingly, as if to hide
The wildbird on its nest that cried.
Now mists that mass thesunset-dyes
Build an Arabia in the skies,
Through which the sun in pomp retires,
Torched to his room with saffron fires;
And 'thwart his palace door is laid
A crescent sign, a moony blade,
Then glittering in a cloud is sheathed;
And, dripping crimson, fire-wreathed,
A magic scimetar of flame
Is slowly drawn before the same.
The door of Day is closed; its bar
Put up, one bright and golden star;
While, crowding all the corridors
Of Dusk, the shadows, blackamoors
Of darkness, glide; and zephyrs sweep
Mist-gowns of musk through halls of Sleep
Dim odalisques of Night, who wait
Upon their lord who lies in state.

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