A poem by Madison Julius Cawein


The mellow smell of hollyhocks
And marigolds and pinks and phlox
Blends with the homely garden scents
Of onions, silvering into rods;
Of peppers, scarlet with their pods;
And (rose of all the esculents)
Of broad plebeian cabbages,
Breathing content and corpulent ease.


The buzz of wasp and fly makes hot
The spaces of the garden-plot;
And from the orchard, - where the fruit
Ripens and rounds, or, loosed with heat,
Rolls, hornet-clung, before the feet, -
One hears the veery's golden flute,
That mixes with the sleepy hum
Of bees that drowsily go and come.


The podded musk of gourd and vine
Embower a gate of roughest pine,
That leads into a wood where day
Sits, leaning o'er a forest pool,
Watching the lilies opening cool,
And dragonflies at airy play,
While, dim and near, the quietness
Rustles and stirs her leafy dress.


Far-off a cowbell clangs awake
The noon who slumbers in the brake:
And now a pewee, plaintively,
Whistles the day to sleep again:
A rain-crow croaks a rune for rain,
And from the ripest apple tree
A great gold apple thuds, where, slow,
The red cock curves his neck to crow.


Hens cluck their broods from place to place,
While clinking home, with chain and trace,
The cart-horse plods along the road
Where afternoon sits with his dreams:
Hot fragrance of hay-making streams
Above him, and a high-heaped load
Goes creaking by and with it, sweet,
The aromatic soul of heat.


"Coo-ee! coo-ee!" the evenfall
Cries, and the hills repeat the call:
"Coo-ee! coo-ee!" and by the log
Labor unharnesses his plow,
While to the barn comes cow on cow:
"Coo-ee! coo-ee!" - and, with his dog,
Barefooted boyhood down the lane
"Coo-ees" the cattle home again.

Reader Comments

Tell us what you think of 'Midsummer' by Madison Julius Cawein

comments powered by Disqus