The Yarrow

A poem by Madison Julius Cawein


A Tortured tree in a huddled hollow,
On whose gnarled boughs three leaves are blowing:
A strip of path that the hunters follow,
That leads to fields of the wind's wild sowing,
And a rain-washed hill with the wild-thorn growing.


And here one day, when the sky was raining,
And the wind came sharp as an Indian-arrow,
And Winter walked on the hills complaining,
I found a blossom of summer yarrow,
In the freezing wet, where the way was narrow.


Its dim white umble was bravely lifted,
Defying Winter and wind and weather,
Facing the rout as they whirled and shifted,
Twisting its blossom and leaves together,
Its fern-fair leaves that were sweet as the heather.


And I thought, as I saw it there so fearless,
Facing death, that was sure to follow
When the sky and the earth with white were cheerless,
And the rabbit shivered within its hollow,
That here was a weed that was worth the swallow.


Its fortitude and its strength reminded
My soul of the souls that arc like the yarrow,
That face defeat, though its blows have blinded,
And smile, and fight, in their heart an arrow,
And fall unknown in the path that is narrow.

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