The Dream Child

A poem by Madison Julius Cawein

There is a place (I know it well)
Where beech trees crowd into a gloom,
And where a twinkling woodland well
Flings from a rock a rippling plume,
And, like a Faun beneath a spell,
The silence breathes of beam and bloom.

And here it was I met with her,
The child I never hoped to see,
Who long had been heart's-comforter,
And soul's-companion unto me,
Telling me oft of myths that were,
And of far faerylands to-be.

She stood there smiling by the pool,
The cascade made below the rocks;
Innocent, naked, beautiful,
The frail gerardia in her locks,
A flower, elfin-sweet and cool,
Freckled as faery four-o -clocks.

Her eyes were rain-bright; and her hair
An amber gleam like that which tips
The golden leaves when Fall comes fair;
And twin red berries were her lips;
Her beauty, pure and young and bare,
Shone like a star from breasts to hips.

Oft had I seen her thus, of old,
In dreams, where she played many parts:
A form, possessing in its mold
The high perfection of all Arts,
With all the hopes to which men hold,
And loves for which they break their hearts.

And she was mine. Within her face
I read' her soul. . . . Then, while she smiled,
A sudden wind swept through the place
And she was gone. My heart beat wild;
The leaves shook and, behold, no trace
Was there of her, the faery child.

Only a ray of gold that hung
Above the water; and a bough,
Rain-bright and berried, low that swung:
Yet, in my heart of hearts, somehow,
I felt (I need not search among
The trees) that she was hiding now.

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