The Close Of Summer

A poem by Madison Julius Cawein

The wild-plum tree, whose leaves grow thin,
Has strewn the way with half its fruit:
The grasshopper's and cricket's din
Grows hushed and mute;
The veery seems a far-off flute
Where Summer listens, hand on chin,
And taps an idle foot.

A silvery haze veils half the hills,
That crown themselves with clouds like cream;
The crow its clamor almost stills,
The hawk its scream;
The aster stars begin to gleam;
And 'mid them, by the sleepy rills,
The Summer dreams her dream.

The butterfly upon its weed
Droops as if weary of its wings;
The bee, 'mid blooms that turn to seed,
Half-hearted clings,
Sick of the only song it sings,
While Summer tunes a drowsy reed
And dreams of far-off things.

Passion, of which unrest is part,
That filled with ardor all her hours,
Burns low within her quiet heart
As now in ours:
The time fulfilled of fruits and flowers,
From out Life's dying fires now start
Love's less uneasy powers.

All is at peace; the perfect days
Move onward to a perfect close;
A little while the Year delays,
And takes repose,
Ere to her end she sighing goes,
And, clothed in tattered golds and grays,
Weeps all her shadowy woes. . . .

So is it with the heart awhile,
The heart and soul that dreams engage,
While on fruition Toil doth smile
And take his wage
Of Love, who cons Life's middle page;
Regardless of the distant stile
Where Death awaits and Age.

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