Threnody In May

A poem by Madison Julius Cawein

(In memory of Madison Cawein?)

Again the earth, miraculous with May,
Unfolds its vernal arras. Yesteryear
We strolled together 'neath the greening trees,
And heard the robin tune its flute note clear,
And watched above the white cloud squadrons veer,
And saw their shifting shadows drift away
Adown the Hudson, as ships seek the seas.
The scene is still the same. The violet
Unlids its virgin eye; its amber ore
The dandelion shows, and yet, and yet,
He comes no more, no more!
He of the open and the generous heart,
The soul that sensed all flowerful loveliness,
The nature as the nature of a child;
Who found some rapture in the wind's caress,
Beauty in humble weed and mint and cress,
And sang, with his incomparable art,
The magic wonder of the wood and wild.
The little people of the reeds and grass,
Murmur their blithe, companionable lore,
The rills renew their minstrelsy. Alas,
He comes no more, no more!
And yet it seems as though he needs must come,
Albeit he has cast off mortality,
Such was his passion for the burgeoning time,
Such to his spirit was the ecstasy
The hills and valleys chorus when set free,
No music mute, no lyric instinct dumb,
But keyed to utterance of immortal rhyme.
Ah, haply in some other fairer spring
He sees bright tides sweep over slope and shore,
But here how vain is all my visioning!
He comes no more, no more!
Poet and friend, wherever you may fare
Enwrapt in dreams, I love to think of you
Wandering amid the meads of asphodel,
Holding high converse with the exalted few
Who sought and found below the elusive clue
To beauty, and in that diviner air
Bowing in worship still to its sweet spell.
Why sorrow, then, though fate unkindly lays
Upon our questioning hearts this burden sore,
And though through all our length of hastening days
He comes no more, no more!

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