Madison Julius Cawein

1865-1914

 

Tones

by Madison Julius Cawein

I.

A woman, fair to look upon,
Where waters whiten with the moon;
While down the glimmer of the lawn
The white moths swoon.

A mouth of music; eyes of love;
And hands of blended snow and scent,
That touch the pearl-pale shadow of
An instrument.

And low and sweet that song of sleep
After the song of love is hushed;
While all the longing, here, to weep,
Is held and crushed.

Then leafy silence, that is musk
With breath of the magnolia-tree,
While dwindles, moon-white, through the dusk
Her drapery.

Let me remember how a heart,
Romantic, wrote upon that night!
My soul still helps me read each part
Of it aright.

And like a dead leaf shut between
A book's dull chapters, stained and dark,
That page, with immemorial green,
Of life I mark.

II.

It is not well for me to hear
That song's appealing melody:
The pain of loss comes all too near,
Through it, to me.

The loss of her whose love looks through
The mist death's hand hath hung between:
Within the shadow of the yew
Her grave is green.

Ah, dream that vanished long ago!
Oh, anguish of remembered tears!
And shadow of unlifted woe
Athwart the years!

That haunt the sad rooms of my days,
As keepsakes of unperished love,
Where pale the memory of her face
Is framed above.

This olden song, she used to sing,
Of love and sleep, is now a charm
To open mystic doors and bring
Her spirit form.

In music making visible
One soul-assertive memory,
That steals unto my side to tell
My loss to me.

Source:

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