The Old Inn

A poem by Madison Julius Cawein

Red-Winding from the sleepy town,
One takes the lone, forgotten lane
Straight through the hills. A brush-bird brown
Bubbles in thorn-flowers, sweet with rain,
Where breezes bend the gleaming grain,
And cautious drip of higher leaves
The lower dips that drip again.
Above the tangled trees it heaves
Its gables and its haunted eaves.

One creeper, gnarled and blossomless,
O'erforests all its eastern wall;
The sighing cedars rake and press
Dark boughs along the panes they sprawl;
While, where the sun beats, drone and drawl
The mud-wasps; and one bushy bee,
Gold-dusty, hurls along the hall
To buzz into a crack. To me
The shadows seem too seared to flee.

Of ragged chimneys martins make
Huge pipes of music; twittering, here
They build and roost. My footfalls wake
Strange stealing echoes, till I fear
I'll see my pale self drawing near,
My phantom face as in a glass;
Or one, men murdered, buried where?
Dim in gray stealthy glimmer, pass
With lips that seem to moan 'Alas.'

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