The Moon In The Wood

A poem by Madison Julius Cawein

I.

From hill and hollow, side by side,
The shadows came, like dreams, to sit
And watch, mysterious, sunset-eyed,
The wool-winged moths and bats aflit,
And the lone owl that cried and cried.
And then the forest rang a gong,
Hoarse, toadlike; and from out the gate
Of darkness came a sound of song,
As of a gnome that called his mate,
Who answered in his own strange tongue.
And all the forest leaned to hear,
And saw, from forth the entangling trees,
A naked spirit drawing near,
A glimmering presence, whom the breeze
Kept whispering, "Forward! Have no fear."

II.

The woodland, seeming at a loss,
Afraid to breathe, or make a sound,
Poured, where her silvery feet should cross,
A dripping pathway on the ground,
And hedged it in with ferns and moss.
And then the silence sharply shook
A cricket tambourine; and Night
From out her musky bosom took
A whippoorwill flute, and, lost to sight
Sat piping to a wildwood brook.
Until from out the shadows came
A furtive foot, a gleam, a glow;
And with a lamp of crystal flame
The spirit stole, as white as snow,
And put the firmament to shame.

III.

Then up and down vague movements went,
As if the faeries sought an herb;
And here and there a bush was bent,
A wildflower raised: the wood-pool's curb
Was circled with a scarf of scent.
And deep within her house of weeds
Old Mystery hung a glowworm lamp,
And decked her hair with firefly beads,
And sate herself 'mid dew and damp,
And crooned a love-song to the reeds.
Then through the gates of solitude,
Where Witchery her shuttle plied,
The Spirit entered, white and nude
And where she went, on every side,
Dreams followed through the solitude.

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