Mysteries

A poem by Madison Julius Cawein

Soft and silken and silvery brown,
In shoes of lichen and leafy gown,
Little blue butterflies fluttering around her,
Deep in the forest, afar from town,
There where a stream came trickling down,
I met with Silence, who wove a crown
Of sleep whose mystery bound her.

I gazed in her eyes, that were mossy green
As the rain that pools in a hollow between
The twisted roots of a tree that towers:
And I saw the things that none has seen,
That mean far more than facts may mean,
The dreams, that are true, of an age that has been,
That God has thought into flowers.

I gazed on her lips, that were dewy gray
As the mist that clings, at the close of day,
To the wet hillside when the winds cease blowing;
And I heard the things that none may say,
That are holier far than the prayers we pray,
The murmured music God breathes alway
Through the hearts of all things growing.

Soft and subtle and vapory white,
In shoes of shadow and gown of light,
Crimson poppies asleep around her,
Far in the forest, beneath a height,
I came on Slumber, who wove from night
A wreath of silence, that, darkly bright,
With its mystic beauty bound her.

I looked in her face that was pale and still
As the moon that rises above the hill
Where the pines loom sombre as sorrow:
And the things that all have known and will,
I knew for a moment: the myths that fill
And people the past of the soul and thrill
Its hope with a far to-morrow.

I heard her voice, that was strange with pain
As a wind that whispers of wreck and rain
To the leaves of the autumn rustling lonely:
And I felt the things that are felt in vain
By all the longings that haunt the brain
Of man, that come and depart again
And are part of his dreamings only.

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