The Spell

A poem by Madison Julius Cawein

"We have the receipt of fern seed: we walk invisible."

And we have met but twice or thrice! -
Three times enough to make me love! -
I praised your hair once; then your glove;
Your eyes; your gown; - you were like ice;
And yet this might suffice, my love,
And yet this might suffice.

St. John hath told me what to do:
To search and find the ferns that grow
The fern seed that the faeries know;
Then sprinkle fern seed in my shoe,
And haunt the steps of you, my dear,
And haunt the steps of you.

You'll see the poppy pods dip here;
The blow-ball of the thistle slip,
And no wind breathing - but my lip
Next to your anxious cheek and ear,
To tell you I am near, my love,
To tell you I am near.

On wood-ways I shall tread your gown -
You'll know it is no brier! - then
I'll whisper words of love again,
And smile to see your quick face frown:
And then I'll kiss it down, my dear,
And then I'll kiss it down.

And when at home you read or knit, -
Who'll know it was my hands that blotted
The page? - or all your needles knotted?
When in your rage you cry a bit:
And loud I laugh at it, my love,
And loud I laugh at it.

The secrets that you say in prayer
Right so I'll hear: and, when you sing,
The name you speak; and whispering
I'll bend and kiss your mouth and hair,
And tell you I am there, my dear,
And tell you I am there.

Would it were true what people say! -
Would I _could_ find that elfin seed!
Then should I win your love, indeed,
By being near you night and day -
There is no other way, my love,
There is no other way.

Meantime the truth in this is said:
It is my soul that follows you;
It needs no fern seed in the shoe, -
While in the heart love pulses red,
To win you and to wed, my dear,
To win you and to wed.

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