Madison Julius Cawein

(1865-1914 / the United States)

The Whippoorwill


I

Above lone woodland ways that led
To dells the stealthy twilights tread
The west was hot geranium red;
And still, and still,
Along old lanes the locusts sow
With clustered pearls the Maytimes know,
Deep in the crimson afterglow,
We heard the homeward cattle low,
And then the far-off, far-off woe
Of 'whippoorwill!' of 'whippoorwill!'

II

Beneath the idle beechen boughs
We heard the far bells of the cows
Come slowly jangling towards the house;
And still, and still,
Beyond the light that would not die
Out of the scarlet-haunted sky;
Beyond the evening-star's white eye
Of glittering chalcedony,
Drained out of dusk the plaintive cry
Of 'whippoorwill,' of 'whippoorwill.'

III

And in the city oft, when swims
The pale moon o'er the smoke that dims
Its disc, I dream of wildwood limbs;
And still, and still,
I seem to hear, where shadows grope
Mid ferns and flowers that dewdrops rope,-
Lost in faint deeps of heliotrope
Above the clover-sweetened slope,-
Retreat, despairing, past all hope,
The whippoorwill, the whippoorwill.

Submitted: Tuesday, September 21, 2010

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