The Word In The Wood

A poem by Madison Julius Cawein


The acorn-oak
Sullens to sombre crimson all its leaves;
And where it hugely heaves
A giant head dark as congested blood,
The gum-tree towers, against the sky a stroke
Of purpling gold; and every blur of wood
Is color on the pallet that she drops,
The Autumn, dreaming on the hazed hilltops.


And as I went
Through golden forests in a golden land,
Where Magic waved her wand
And dimmed the air with dreams my boyhood knew,
Enchantment met me; and again she bent
Her face to mine, and smiled with eyes of blue,
And kissed me on the mouth and bade me heed
Old tales again from books no man may read.


And at her word
The wood became transfigured; and, behold!
With hair of wavy gold
A presence walked there; and its beauty was
The beauty not of Earth: and then I heard
Within my heart vague voices, murmurous
And multitudinous as leaves that sow
The firmament when winds of autumn blow.


And I perceived
The voices were but one voice made of sighs,
That sorrowed in this wise:
"I am the child-soul that grew up and died,
The child-soul of the world that once believed,
Believed in me, but long ago denied;
The Faery Faith it needs no more to-day,
The folk-lore Beauty long since passed away."

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