October

A poem by Madison Julius Cawein

Far off a wind blew, and I heard
Wild echoes of the woods reply -
The herald of some royal word,
With bannered trumpet, blown on high,
Meseemed then passed me by:

Who summoned marvels there to meet,
With pomp, upon a cloth of gold;
Where berries of the bittersweet,
That, splitting, showed the coals they hold,
Sowed garnets through the wold:

Where, under tents of maples, seeds
Of smooth carnelian, oval red,
The spice-bush spangled: where, like beads,
The dogwood's rounded rubies - fed
With fire - blazed and bled.

And there I saw amid the rout
Of months, in richness cavalier,
A minnesinger - lips apout;
A gypsy face; straight as a spear;
A rose stuck in his ear:

Eyes, sparkling like old German wine,
All mirth and moonlight; naught to spare
Of slender beard, that lent a line
To his short lip; October there,
With chestnut curling hair.

His brown baretta swept its plume
Red through the leaves; his purple hose,
Puffed at the thighs, made gleam of gloom;
His tawny doublet, slashed with rose,
And laced with crimson bows,

Outshone the wahoo's scarlet pride,
The haw, in rich vermilion dressed:
A dagger dangling at his side,
A slim lute, banded to his breast,
Whereon his hands were pressed.

I saw him come.... And, lo, to hear
The lilt of his approaching lute,
No wonder that the regnant Year
Bent down her beauty, blushing mute,
Her heart beneath his foot.

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