All hushed of glee,
The last chill bee
Clings wearily
   To the dying aster:
   The leaves drop faster:
   And all around, red as disaster,
The forest crimsons with tree on tree.
 
A butterfly,
The last to die,
Droops heavily by,
   Weighed down with torpor:
   The air grows sharper:
   And the wind in the trees, like some sad harper,
Sits and sorrows with sigh on sigh.
 
The far crows call;
The acorns fall;
And over all
   The Autumn raises
   Dun mists and hazes,
   Through which her soul, it seemeth, gazes
On ghosts and dreams in carnival.
 
The end is near:
The dying Year
Leans low to hear
   Her own heart breaking,
   And Beauty taking
   Her flight, and all her dreams forsaking
Her soul, bowed down 'mid the sad and sere.
 

More by Madison Julius Cawein

The Vampire

A lily in a twilight place?
A moonflow'r in the lonely night?—
Strange beauty of a woman's face
   Of wildflow'r-white!

The rain that hangs a star's green ray
Slim on a leaf-point's restlessness,
Is not so glimmering green and gray
   As was her dress.

I drew her dark hair from her eyes,
And in their deeps beheld a while
Such shadowy moonlight as the skies
   Of Hell may smile.

She held her mouth up redly wan,
And burning cold,—I bent and kissed
Such rosy snow as some wild dawn
   Makes of a mist.

God shall not take from me that hour,
When round my neck her white arms clung!
When 'neath my lips, like some fierce flower,
   Her white throat swung!

Or words she murmured while she leaned!
Witch-words, she holds me softly by,—
The spell that binds me to a fiend
   Until I die.

Halloween

It was down in the woodland on last Hallowe'en,
   Where silence and darkness had built them a lair,
That I felt the dim presence of her, the unseen,
   And heard her still step on the hush-haunted air.
 
It was last Hallowe'en in the glimmer and swoon
   Of mist and of moonlight, where once we had sinned,
That I saw the gray gleam of her eyes in the moon,
   And hair, like a raven, blown wild on the wind.
 
It was last Hallowe'en where starlight and dew
   Made mystical marriage on flower and leaf,
That she led me with looks of a love, that I knew
   Was dead, and the voice of a passion too brief.
 
It was last Hallowe'en in the forest of dreams,
   Where trees are eidolons and flowers have eyes,
That I saw her pale face like the foam of far streams,
   And heard, like the night-wind, her tears and her sighs.
 
It was last Hallowe'en, the haunted, the dread,
   In the wind-tattered wood, by the storm-twisted pine,
That I, who am living, kept tryst with the dead,
   And clasped her a moment who once had been mine.
 

Related Poems

Witch-Wife

She is neither pink nor pale,
    And she never will be all mine;
She learned her hands in a fairy-tale,
    And her mouth on a valentine.

She has more hair than she needs;
    In the sun 'tis a woe to me!
And her voice is a string of colored beads,
    Or steps leading into the sea.

She loves me all that she can, 
    And her ways to my ways resign; 
But she was not made for any man, 
    And she never will be all mine.