The Cricket.

A poem by Madison Julius Cawein

I.

First of the insect choir, in the spring
We hear his faint voice fluttering in the grass,
Beneath some blossom's rosy covering
Or frond of fern upon a wildwood pass.

When in the marsh, in clamorous orchestras,
The shrill hylodes pipe; when, in the haw's
Bee-swarming blooms, or tasseling sassafras,
Sweet threads of silvery song the sparrow draws,
Bow-like, athwart the vibrant atmosphere,
Like some dim dream low-breathed in slumber's ear,
We hear his "Cheer, cheer, cheer."

II.

All summer through the mellowing meadows thrill
To his blithe music. Be it day or night,
Close gossip of the grass, on field and hill
He serenades the silence with delight:

Silence, that hears the melon slowly split
With ripeness; and the plump peach, hornet-bit,
Loosen and fall; and everywhere the white,
Warm, silk-like stir of leafy lights that flit
As breezes blow; above which, loudly clear,
Like joy who sings of life and has no fear,
We hear his "Cheer, cheer, cheer."

III.

Then in the autumn, by the waterside,
Leaf-huddled; or along the weed-grown walks,
He dirges low the flowers that have died,
Or with their ghosts holds solitary talks.

Lover of warmth, all day above the click
And crunching of the sorghum-press, through thick
Sweet steam of juice; all night when, white as chalk,
The hunter's-moon hangs o'er the rustling rick,
Within the barn 'mid munching cow and steer,
Soft as a memory the heart holds dear,
We hear his "Cheer, cheer, cheer."

IV.

Kinsman and cousin of the Faƫry Race,
All winter long he sets his sober mirth,
That brings good-luck to many a fire-place,
To folk-lore song and story of the hearth.

Between the back-log's bluster and the slim
High twittering of the kettle, sounds that hymn
Home-comforts, when, outside, the starless Earth
Is icicled in every laden limb,
Defying frost and all the sad and sear,
Like love that dies not and is always near,
We hear his "Cheer, cheer, cheer."

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