Wood-Ways

A poem by Madison Julius Cawein

I.

O roads, O paths, O ways that lead
Through woods where all the oak-trees bleed
With autumn! and the frosty reds
Of fallen leaves make whispering beds
For winds to toss and turn upon,
Like restless Care that can not sleep,
Beneath whose rustling tatters wan
The last wildflow'r is buried deep:
One way of all I love to wend,
That towards the golden sunset goes,
A way, o'er which the red leaf blows,
With an old gateway at its end,
Where Summer, that my soul o'erflows,
My summer of love, blooms like a wildwood rose.

II.

O winter ways, when spears of ice
Arm every bough! and in a vice
Of iron frost the streams are held;
When, where the deadened oak was felled
For firewood, deep the snow and sleet,
Where lone the muffled woodsmen toiled,
Are trampled down by heavy feet,
And network of the frost is spoiled,
O road I love to take again!
While gray the heaven sleets or snows,
At whose far end, at twilight's close,
Glimmers an oldtime window-pane,
Where spring, that is my heart's repose,
My spring of love, like a great fire glows.

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