In The Wood

A poem by Madison Julius Cawein

The waterfall, deep in the wood,
Talked drowsily with solitude,
A soft, insistent sound of foam,
That filled with sleep the forest's dome,
Where, like some dream of dusk, she stood
Accentuating solitude.

The crickets' tinkling chips of sound
Strewed dim the twilight-twinkling ground;
A whippoorwill began to cry,
And glimmering through the sober sky
A bat went on its drunken round,
Its shadow following on the ground.

Then from a bush, an elder-copse,
That spiced the dark with musky tops,
What seemed, at first, a shadow came
And took her hand and spoke her name,
And kissed her where, in starry drops,
The dew orbed on the elder-tops.

The glaucous glow of fireflies
Flickered the dusk; and foxlike eyes
Peered from the shadows; and the hush
Murmured a word of wind and rush
Of fluttering waters, fragrant sighs,
And dreams unseen of mortal eyes.

The beetle flung its burr of sound
Against the hush and clung there, wound
In night's deep mane: then, in a tree,
A grig began deliberately
To file the stillness: all around
A wire of shrillness seemed unwound.

I looked for those two lovers there;
His ardent eyes, her passionate hair.
The moon looked down, slow-climbing wan
Heaven's slope of azure: they were gone:
But where they'd passed I heard the air
Sigh, faint with sweetness of her hair.

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