A poem by Madison Julius Cawein


The shivering wind sits in the oaks, whose limbs,
Twisted and tortured, nevermore are still;
Grief and decay sit with it; they, whose chill
Autumnal touch makes hectic-red the rims
Of all the oak leaves; desolating, dims
The ageratum's blue that banks the rill;
And splits the milkweed's pod upon the hill,
And shakes it free of the last seed that swims.
Down goes the day despondent to its close:
And now the sunset's hands of copper build
A tower of brass, behind whose burning bars
The day, in fierce, barbarian repose,
Like some imprisoned Inca sits, hate-filled,
Crowned with the gold corymbus of the stars.


There is a booming in the forest boughs;
Tremendous feet seem trampling through the trees:
The storm is at his wildman revelries,
And earth and heaven echo his carouse.
Night reels with tumult; and, from out her house
Of cloud, the moon looks, - like a face one sees
In nightmare, - hurrying, with pale eyes that freeze
Stooping above with white, malignant brows.
The isolated oak upon the hill,
That seemed, at sunset, in terrific lands
A Titan head black in a sea of blood,
Now seems a monster harp, whose wild strings thrill
To the vast fingering of innumerable hands -
Spirits of tempest and of solitude.

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