Madison Julius Cawein




by Madison Julius Cawein


The spirits of the forest,
That to the winds give voice --
I lie the livelong April day
And wonder what it is they say
That makes the leaves rejoice.

The spirits of the forest,
That breathe in bud and bloom --
I walk within the black-haw brake
And wonder how it is they make
The bubbles of perfume.

The spirits of the forest,
That live in every spring --
I lean above the brook's bright blue
And wonder what it is they do
That makes the water sing.

The spirits of the forest,
That haunt the sun's green glow --
Down fungus ways of fern I steal
And wonder what they can conceal,
In dews, that twinkles so.

The spirits of the forest,
They hold me, heart and hand --
And, oh! the bird they send by light,
The jack-o'-lantern gleam by night,
To guide to Fairyland!


The time when dog-tooth violets
Hold up inverted horns of gold, --
The elvish cups that Spring upsets
With dripping feet, when April wets
The sun-and-shadow-marbled wold, --

Is come. And by each leafing way
The sorrel drops pale blots of pink;
And, like an angled star a fay
Sets on her forehead's pallid day,
The blossoms of the trillium wink.

Within the vale, by rock and stream, --
A fragile, fairy porcelain, --
Blue as a baby's eyes a-dream,
The bluets blow; and gleam in gleam
The sun-shot dog-woods flash with rain.

It is the time to cast off care;
To make glad intimates of these: --
The frank-faced sunbeam laughing there;
The great-heart wind, that bids us share
The optimism of the trees.


The white ghosts of the flowers,
The green ghosts of the trees:
They haunt the blooming bowers,
They haunt the wildwood hours,
And whisper in the breeze.

For in the wildrose places,
And on the beechen knoll,
My soul hath seen their faces,
My soul hath met their races,
And felt their dim control.


Crab-apple buds, whose bells
The mouth of April kissed;
That hang, -- like rosy shells
Around a naiad's wrist, --
Pink as dawn-tinted mist.

And paw-paw buds, whose dark
Deep auburn blossoms shake
On boughs, -- as 'neath the bark
A dryad's eyes awake,--
Brown as a midnight lake.

These, with symbolic blooms
Of wind-flower and wild-phlox,
I found among the glooms
Of hill-lost woods and rocks,
Lairs of the mink and fox.

The beetle in the brush,
The bird about the creek,
The bee within the hush,
And I, whose heart was meek,
Stood still to hear these speak

The language, that records,
In flower-syllables,
The hieroglyphic words
Of beauty, who enspells
The world and aye compels.


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