The Old Creek

A poem by Madison Julius Cawein

The frogs still cry, "Knee-deep! knee-deep!"
Among its starlit pools,
When dark the woodland lies asleep,
And dusk its water cools:
The fireflies round its bank of ferns
Hang will-o'-wisps for lamps,
Where in a place no eye discerns
Enchantment's host encamps.

The bats above it go and come
In reeling rigadoons,
While Elfland beats a beetle-drum,
Or cricket-fiddle tunes;
And in and out, and all about,
The pixy people dance
To katydid song and green-frog gong
That hold the woods in trance.

The moon looks, listening, through its trees
As if to hear its calls,
Or with long arms of light to seize
Its twinkling waterfalls
With Witchcraft who, a foam-white hand,
Its glimmering banks between,
Beckons from sand to riffled sand,
To something far, unseen.

A ghost, that leans beside it still;
The phantom of a boy,
Who followed once its wildwood will
With barefoot troops of joy:
The soul of him who yearns afar
To see, in dusk and dew,
If still it dances with the star
That once his boyhood knew.



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