Moon Fairies

A poem by Madison Julius Cawein

The moon, a circle of gold,
O'er the crowded housetops rolled,
And peeped in an attic, where,
'Mid sordid things and bare,
A sick child lay and gazed
At a road to the far-away,
A road he followed, mazed,
That grew from a moonbeam-ray,
A road of light that led
From the foot of his garret-bed
Out of that room of hate,
Where Poverty slept by his mate,
Sickness out of the street,
Into a wonderland,
Where a voice called, far and sweet,
"Come, follow our Fairy band!"
A purple shadow, sprinkled
With golden star-dust, twinkled
Suddenly into the room
Out of the winter gloom:
And it wore a face to him
Of a dream he'd dreamed: a form
Of Joy, whose face was dim,
Yet bright with a magic charm.
And the shadow seemed to trail,
Sounds that were green and frail:
Dew-dripples; notes that fell
Like drops in a ferny dell;
A whispered lisp and stir,
Like winds among the leaves,
Blent with a cricket-chirr,
And coo of a dove that grieves.
And the Elfin bore on its back
A little faery pack
Of forest scents: of loam
And mossy sounds of foam;
And of its contents breathed
As might a clod of ground
Feeling a bud unsheathed
There in its womb profound.
And the shadow smiled and gazed
At the child; then softly raised
Its arms and seemed to grow
To a tree in the attic low:
And from its glimmering hands
Shook emerald seeds of dreams,
From which grew fairy bands,
Like firefly motes and gleams.
The child had seen them before
In his dreams of Fairy lore:
The Elves, each with a light
To guide his feet a-right,
Out of this world to a world
Where Magic built him towers,
And Fable old, unfurled,
Flags like wonderful flowers.
And the child, who knew this, smiled,
And rose, a different child:
No more he knew of pain,
Or fear of heart and brain.
At Poverty there that slept
He never even glanced,
But into the moon-road stept,
And out of the garret danced.
Out of the earthly gloom,
Out of the sordid room,
Out, on a moonbeam ray!
Now at last to play
There with comrades found!
Children of the moon,
There on faery ground,
Where none would find him soon!

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