Whippoorwill Time

A poem by Madison Julius Cawein

Let down the bars; drive in the cows:
The west is barred with burning rose.
Unhitch the horses from the ploughs,
And from the cart the ox that lows,
And light the lamp within the house:
The whippoorwill is calling,
"Whippoorwill, whippoorwill,"
Where the locust blooms are falling
On the hill;
The sunset's rose is dying,
And the whippoorwill is crying,
"Whippoorwill, whippoorwill";
Soft, now shrill,
The whippoorwill is crying,
"Whippoorwill."

Unloose the watch-dog from his chain:
The first stars wink their drowsy eyes:
A sheep-bell tinkles in the lane,
And where the shadow deepest lies
A lamp makes bright the window-pane:
The whippoorwill is calling,
"Whippoorwill, whippoorwill,"
Where the berry-blooms are falling
On the rill;
The first faint stars are springing,
And the whippoorwill is singing,
"Whippoorwill, whippoorwill";
Softly still
The whippoorwill is singing,
"Whippoorwill."

The cows are milked; the cattle fed;
The last far streaks of evening fade:
The farm-hand whistles in the shed,
And in the house the table's laid;
Its lamp streams on the garden-bed:
The whippoorwill is calling,
"Whippoorwill, whippoorwill,"
Where the dogwood blooms are falling
On the hill;
The afterglow is waning
And the whippoorwill's complaining,
"Whippoorwill, whippoorwill";
Wild and shrill,
The whippoorwill's complaining,
"Whippoorwill."

The moon blooms out, a great white rose;
The stars wheel onward toward the west:
The barnyard-cock wakes once and crows;
The farm is wrapped in peaceful rest;
The cricket chirs; the firefly glows
The whippoorwill is calling,
"Whippoorwill, whippoorwill,"
Where the bramble-blooms are falling
On the rill;
The moon her watch is keeping
And the whippoorwill is weeping,
"Whippoorwill, whippoorwill";
Lonely still,
The whippoorwill is weeping,
"Whippoorwill."

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