Consecration

A poem by Madison Julius Cawein

I.

This is the place where visions come to dance,
Dreams of the trees and flowers, glimmeringly;
Where the white moon and the pale stars can see,
Sitting with Legend and with dim Romance.
This is the place where all the silvery clans
Of Music meet: music of bird and bee;
Music of falling water; melody
Mated with magic, with her golden lance.
This is the place made holy by Love's feet,
And dedicate to wonder and to dreams,
The ministers of Beauty. 'Twas with these
Love filled the place, making all splendours meet
And all despairs, as once in woods and streams
Of Ida and the gold Hesperides.

II.

Here is the place where Loveliness keeps house,
Between the river and the wooded hills,
Within a valley where the Springtime spills
Her firstling wind-flowers under blossoming boughs:
Where Summer sits braiding her warm, white brows
With bramble-roses; and where Autumn fills
Her lap with asters; and old Winter frills
With crimson haw and hip his snowy blouse.
Here you may meet with Beauty. Here she sits;
Gazing upon the moon; or, all the day,
Tuning a wood-thrush flute, remote, unseen:
Or when the storm is out 'tis she who flits
From rock to rock, a form of flying spray,
Shouting, beneath the leaves' tumultuous green.

III.

The road winds upward under whispering trees
Through grass and clover where the dewdrop winks;
And at the hill's green crest abruptly sinks
Into a valley boisterous with bees
And brooks and birds. Its beauty seems to seize
And take one's breath with rapture, joy that drinks
The soul's cup dry while dreamily it links
Present and past with mortal memories.
Or so it seems to us who, heart to heart,
Come back the old way through the dusk and dew
With all our old dreams with us, blossom-deep
With love: old dreams, this vale has made a part
Of its unchanging self, the dreams come true,
That consecrate it and still guard and keep.

IV.

Keep it, O dim recorders of grey years,
And memories of bygone happiness!
This vale among the hills where Love's distress
And rapture walked, beautiful with smiles and tears.
Guard it for Love's sake, and for what endears
Its every tree and flower: each fond caress,
Each look of Love with which he once did bless
The paths he wandered, filled with hopes and fears
Guard it for that sure day when, far apart,
Life's ways have led us; and with Memory
One shall sit down here where two sat with Love:
Keep it for that time; keep it, like my heart,
Haunted for ever by that ecstasy
And by those words its bowers still whisper of.

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