The Old Gate Made Of Pickets

A poem by Madison Julius Cawein


There was moonlight in the garden and the chirr and chirp of crickets;
There was scent of pink and peony and deep syringa thickets,
When adown the pathway whitely, where the firefly glimmered brightly,
She came stepping, oh, so lightly,
To the old gate made of pickets.


There were dew and musk and murmur and a voice that hummed odd snatches
Of a song while there she hurried, through the moonlight's silvery patches,
To the rose-grown gate, above her and her softly-singing lover,
With its blossom-tangled cover
And its weight and wooden latches.


Whom she met there, whom she kissed there, mid the moonlight and the roses,
With his arms who there enclosed her, as a tiger-lily encloses
Some white moth that frailly settles on its gold and crimson petals,
Where the garden runs to nettles,
No one knows now or supposes.


Years have passed since that last meeting; loves have come and loves departed:
Still the garden blooms unchanging; there is nothing broken-hearted
In its beauty, where the hours lounge with sun and moon and showers,
Mid the perfume and the flowers
As in days when those two parted.


Yet the garden and the flowers and the cheerily chirring crickets,
And the moonlight and the fragrance, and the wind that waves the thickets,
They remember what was spoken, and the rose that was a token,
And the gentle heart there broken
By the old gate made of pickets.

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