The Tree - Toad

A poem by Madison Julius Cawein


Secluded, solitary on some underbough,
Or cradled in a leaf, 'mid glimmering light,
Like Puck thou crouchest: Haply watching how
The slow toadstool comes bulging, moony white,
Through loosening loam; or how, against the night,
The glowworm gathers silver to endow
The darkness with; or how the dew conspires
To hang, at dusk, with lamps of chilly fires
Each blade that shrivels now.


O vague confederate of the whippoorwill,
Of owl and cricket and the katydid!
Thou gatherest up the silence in one shrill
Vibrating note and send'st it where, half hid
In cedars, twilight sleeps each azure lid
Drooping a line of golden eyeball still.
Afar, yet near, I hear thy dewy voice
Within the Garden of the Hours apoise
On dusk's deep daffodil.


Minstrel of moisture! silent when high noon
Shows her tanned face among the thirsting clover
And parching meadows, thy tenebrious tune
Wakes with the dew or when the rain is over.
Thou troubadour of wetness and damp lover
Of all cool things! admitted comrade boon
Of twilight's hush, and little intimate
Of eve's first fluttering star and delicate
Round rim of rainy moon!


Art trumpeter of Dwarfland? does thy horn
Inform the gnomes and goblins of the hour
When they may gambol under haw and thorn,
Straddling each winking web and twinkling flower?
Or bell-ringer of Elfland? whose tall tower
The liriodendron is? from whence is borne
The elfin music of thy bell's deep bass,
To summon Faeries to their starlit maze,
To summon them or warn.

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