Madison Cawein


The shivering wind sits in the oaks, whose limbs,

Twisted and tortured, nevermore are still;

Grief and decay sit with it; they, whose chill

Autumnal touch makes hectic-red the rims

Of all the oak leaves; desolating, dims

The ageratum's blue that banks the rill;

And splits the milkweed's pod upon the hill,

And shakes it free of the last seed that swims.

Down goes the day despondent to its close:

And now the sunset's hands of copper build

A tower of brass, behind whose burning bars

The day, in fierce, barbarian repose,

Like some imprisoned Inca sits, hate-filled,

Crowned with the gold corymbus of the stars.


There is a booming in the forest boughs;

Tremendous feet seem trampling through the trees:

The storm is at his wildman revelries,

And earth and heaven echo his carouse.

Night reels with tumult; and, from out her house

Of cloud, the moon looks,—like a face one sees

In nightmare,—hurrying, with pale eyes that freeze

Stooping above with white, malignant brows.

The isolated oak upon the hill,

That seemed, at sunset, in terrific lands

A Titan head black in a sea of blood,

Now seems a monster harp, whose wild strings thrill

To the vast fingering of innumerable hands—

Spirits of tempest and of solitude.

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