Late October Woods

A poem by Madison Julius Cawein

Clumped in the shadow of the beech,
In whose brown top the crows are loud,
Where, every side, great briers reach
And cling like hands, the beechdrops crowd
The mossy cirque with neutral tints
Of gray; and deep, with berries bowed,
The buckbush reddens 'mid the mints.

O'erhead the forest scarcely stirs:
The wind is laid: the sky is blue:
Bush-clover, with its links of burs,
And some last blooms, few, pink of hue,
Makes wild the way- and everywhere
Slim, white-ribbed cones of fungi strew
The grass that's like a wildman's hair.

The jewel-weeds, whose pods bombard
The hush with fairy batteries
Of seeds, grow dense here; pattering hard
Their sacs explode, persuade the eyes
To search the heaven for show 'rs. One seems
To walk where old Enchantment plies
Her shuttle of lost days and dreams.

And, lo! yon rock of fern and flower,
That heaves its height from bramble deeps,
All on a sudden seems the tower
Wherein the Sleeping Beauty sleeps:
And that red vine, the fire-drake,
The flaming dragon, seems, that keeps
The world from her no man may wake.

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