After Autumn Rain

A poem by Madison Julius Cawein

The hillside smokes
With trailing mist around the rosy oaks;
While sunset builds
A gorgeous Asia in the west she gilds.
Auroral streaks
Sword through the heavens' Himalayan peaks:
In which, behold,
Burn mines of Indian ruby and of gold.
A moment and
A shadow stalks between it and the land.
A mist, a breath,
A premonition, with the face of death,
Turning to frost
The air it breathes, like some invisible ghost.
Then, wild of hair,
Demons seem streaming to their fiery lair:
A chasm, the same
That splits the clouds' face with a leer of flame.
The wind comes up
And fills the hollow land as wine a cup.
Around and round
It skips the dead leaves o'er the forest's ground.
A myriad fays
And imps seem dancing down the withered ways.
And far and near
It makes of every bush a whisperer;
Telling dark tales
Of things that happened in the ghostly vales:
Of things the fox
Barks at and sees among the haunted rocks:
At which the owl
Hoots, and the wolf-hound cringes with a growl.
Now on the road
It walks like feet too weary for their load.
Shuffling the leaves,
With stormy sighs, onward it plods and heaves;
Till in the hills
Among the red death there itself it kills.
And with its death
Earth, so its seems, draws in a mighty breath.
And, like a clown
Who wanders lost upon a haunted down,
Turns towards the east,
Fearful of coming goblin or of beast,
And sees a light,
The jack-o'-lantern moon, glow into sight..

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