A poem by Madison Julius Cawein


There is no rhyme that is half so sweet
As the song of the wind in the rippling wheat;
There is no metre that's half so fine
As the lilt of the brook under rock and vine;
And the loveliest lyric I ever heard
Was the wildwood strain of a forest bird. -
If the wind and the brook and the bird would teach
My heart their beautiful parts of speech,
And the natural art that they say these with,
My soul would sing of beauty and myth
In a rhyme and metre that none before
Have sung in their love, or dreamed in their lore,
And the world would be richer one poet the more.


A thought to lift me up to those
Sweet wildflowers of the pensive woods;
The lofty, lowly attitudes
Of bluet and of bramble-rose:
To lift me where my mind may reach
The lessons which their beauties teach.

A dream, to lead my spirit on
With sounds of faery shawms and flutes,
And all mysterious attributes
Of skies of dusk and skies of dawn:
To lead me, like the wandering brooks,
Past all the knowledge of the books.

A song, to make my heart a guest
Of happiness whose soul is love;
One with the life that knoweth of
But song that turneth toil to rest:
To make me cousin to the birds,
Whose music needs not wisdom's words.

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