The Old Farm

A poem by Madison Julius Cawein

Dormered and verandaed, cool,
Locust-girdled, on the hill;
Stained with weather-wear, and dull-
Streak'd with lichens; every sill
Thresholding the beautiful;

I can see it standing there,
Brown above the woodland deep,
Wrapped in lights of lavender,
By the warm wind rocked asleep,
Violet shadows everywhere.

I remember how the Spring,
Liberal-lapped, bewildered its
Acred orchards, murmuring,
Kissed to blossom; budded bits
Where the wood-thrush came to sing.

Barefoot Spring, at first who trod,
Like a beggermaid, adown
The wet woodland; where the god,
With the bright sun for a crown
And the firmament for rod,

Met her; clothed her; wedded her;
Her Cophetua: when, lo!
All the hill, one breathing blur,
Burst in beauty; gleam and glow
Blent with pearl and lavender.

Seckel, blackheart, palpitant
Rained their bleaching strays; and white
Snowed the damson, bent aslant;
Rambow-tree and romanite
Seemed beneath deep drifts to pant.

And it stood there, brown and gray,
In the bee-boom and the bloom,
In the shadow and the ray,
In the passion and perfume,
Grave as age among the gay.

Wild with laughter romped the clear
Boyish voices round its walls;
Rare wild-roses were the dear
Girlish faces in its halls,
Music-haunted all the year.

Far before it meadows full
Of green pennyroyal sank;
Clover-dotted as with wool
Here and there; with now a bank
Hot of color; and the cool

Dark-blue shadows unconfined
Of the clouds rolled overhead:
Clouds, from which the summer wind
Blew with rain, and freshly shed
Dew upon the flowerkind.

Where through mint and gypsy-lily
Runs the rocky brook away,
Musical among the hilly
Solitudes, - its flashing spray
Sunlight-dashed or forest-stilly, -

Buried in deep sassafras,
Memory follows up the hill
Still some cowbell's mellow brass,
Where the ruined water-mill
Looms, half-hid in cane and grass....

Oh, the farmhouse! is it set
On the hilltop still? 'mid musk
Of the meads? where, violet,
Deepens all the dreaming dusk,
And the locust-trees hang wet.

While the sunset, far and low,
On its westward windows dashes
Primrose or pomegranate glow;
And above, in glimmering splashes,
Lilac stars the heavens sow.

Sleeps it still among its roses, -
Oldtime roses? while the choir
Of the lonesome insects dozes:
And the white moon, drifting higher,
O'er its mossy roof reposes -
Sleeps it still among its roses?

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