Beautiful-Bosomed, O Night

A poem by Madison Julius Cawein


Beautiful-bosomed, O Night, in thy noon
Move with majesty onward! soaring, as lightly
As a singer may soar the notes of an exquisite tune,
The stars and the moon
Through the clerestories high of the heaven, the firmament's halls:
Under whose sapphirine walls,
June, hesperian June,
Robed in divinity wanders. Daily and nightly
The turquoise touch of her robe, that the violets star,
The silvery fall of her feet, that lilies are,
Fill the land with languorous light and perfume. -
Is it the melody mute of burgeoning leaf and of bloom?
The music of Nature, that silently shapes in the gloom
Immaterial hosts
Of spirits that have the flowers and leaves in their keep,
Whom I hear, whom I hear?
With their sighs of silver and pearl?
Invisible ghosts, -
Each sigh a shadowy girl, -

Who whisper in leaves and glimmer in blossoms and hover
In color and fragrance and loveliness, breathed from the deep
World-soul of the mother,
Nature; who over and over, -
Both sweetheart and lover, -
Goes singing her songs from one sweet month to the other.


Lo! 'tis her songs that appear, appear,
In forest and field, on hill-land and lea,
As visible harmony,
Materialized melody,
Crystallized beauty, that out of the atmosphere
Utters itself, in wonder and mystery,
Peopling with glimmering essence the hyaline far and the near....


Behold how it sprouts from the grass and blossoms from flower and tree!
In waves of diaphanous moonlight and mist,
In fugue upon fugue of gold and of amethyst,
Around me, above me it spirals; now slower, now faster,
Like symphonies born of the thought of a musical master. -
O music of Earth! O God, who the music inspired!
Let me breathe of the life of thy breath!
And so be fulfilled and attired
In resurrection, triumphant o'er time and o'er death!

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