Will O' The Wisps

A poem by Madison Julius Cawein

Beyond the barley meads and hay,
What was the light that beckoned there?
That made her sweet lips smile and say
'Oh, busk me in a gown of May,
And knot red poppies in my hair.'

Over the meadow and the wood
What was the voice that filled her ears?
That sent into pale cheeks the blood,
Until each seemed a wild-brier bud
Mown down by mowing harvesters?. .

Beyond the orchard, down the hill,
The water flows, the water whirls;
And there they found her past all ill,
A plaintive face but smiling still,
The cresses caught among her curls.

At twilight in the willow glen
What sound is that the silence hears,
When all the dusk is hushed again
And homeward from the fields strong men
And women go, the harvesters?

One seeks the place where she is laid,
Where violets bloom from year to year
'O sunny head! O bird-like maid!
The orchard blossoms fall and fade
And I am lonely, lonely here.'

Two stars burn bright above the vale;
They seem to him the eyes of Ruth:
The low moon rises very pale
As if she, too, had heard the tale,
All heartbreak, of a maid and youth.

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