Madison Julius Cawein



A Flower Of The Fields.

by Madison Julius Cawein

Bee-bitten in the orchard hung
The peach; or, fallen in the weeds,
Lay rotting: where still sucked and sung
The gray bee, boring to its seed's
Pink pulp and honey blackly stung.

The orchard path, which led around
The garden, -- with its heat one twinge
Of dinning locusts, -- picket-bound,
And ragged, brought me where one hinge
Held up the gate that scraped the ground.

All seemed the same: the martin-box --
Sun-warped with pigmy balconies --
Still stood with all its twittering flocks,
Perched on its pole above the peas
And silvery-seeded onion-stocks.

The clove-pink and the rose; the clump
Of coppery sunflowers, with the heat
Sick to the heart: the garden stump,
Red with geranium-pots and sweet
With moss and ferns, this side the pump.

I rested, with one hesitant hand
Upon the gate. The lonesome day,
Droning with insects, made the land
One dry stagnation; soaked with hay
And scents of weeds, the hot wind fanned.

I breathed the sultry scents, my eyes
Parched as my lips. And yet I felt
My limbs were ice. As one who flies
To some strange woe. How sleepy smelt
The hay-sweet heat that soaked the skies!

Noon nodded; dreamier, lonesomer,
For one long, plaintive, forestside
Bird-quaver. -- And I knew me near
Some heartbreak anguish . . . She had died.
I felt it, and no need to hear!

I passed the quince and peartree; where
All up the porch a grape-vine trails --
How strange that fruit, whatever air
Or earth it grows in, never fails
To find its native flavor there!

And she was as a flower, too,
That grows its proper bloom and scent
No matter what the soil: she, who,
Born better than her place, still lent
Grace to the lowliness she knew . . .

They met me at the porch, and were
Sad-eyed with weeping. Then the room
Shut out the country's heat and purr,
And left light stricken into gloom --
So love and I might look on her.


The Garden Of Dreams
Copyright 1896
John P. Morton & Company, Louisville