The Old Barn

A poem by Madison Julius Cawein

Low, swallow-swept and gray,
Between the orchard and the spring,
All its wide windows overflowing hay,
And crannied doors a-swing,
The old barn stands to-day.

Deep in its hay the Leghorn hides
A round white nest; and, humming soft
On roof and rafter, or its log-rude sides,
Black in the sun-shot loft,
The building hornet glides.

Along its corn-crib, cautiously
As thieving fingers, skulks the rat;
Or in warped stalls of fragrant timothy,
Gnaws at some loosened slat,
Or passes shadowy.

A dream of drouth made audible
Before its door, hot, smooth, and shrill
All day the locust sings. . What other spell
Shall hold it, lazier still
Than the long day's, now tell:

Dusk and the cricket and the strain
Of tree-toad and of frog; and stars
That burn above the rich west's ribbéd stain;
And dropping pasture bars,
And cow-bells up the lane.

Night and the moon and katydid,
And leaf-lisp of the wind-touched boughs;
And mazy shadows that the fireflies thrid;
And sweet breath of the cows,
And the lone owl here hid.

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