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Where And What? Post by :6_Weeks Category :Poems Author :Madison Julius Cawein Date :November 2011 Read :2814

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Where And What?

Her ivied towers tall
Old forests belt and bar,
And oh! the West's dim mountain crests
That line the blue afar.

Her gardens face dark cliffs,
That seeth against a sea
As blue and deep as the eyes of Sleep
With saddening mystery.

Red sands roll leagues on leagues
Ribbed of the wind and wave;
The near warm sky bends from on high
The pale brow of a slave.

And when the morning's beams
Lie crushed on crag and bay,
A wail of flutes and soft-strung lutes
O'er the lone land swoons away.

The woods are 'roused from rest,
A scent of earth and brine,
By brake and lake the wild things wake,
And torrents leap and shine.

But she in one gray tower
White-faced knows how he died,
And a murderous scorn on her lips is born
To curse his heart that lied.

She smiles and sorrows not:
"Ah, death! to know," she moans,
"The gluttonous grave of the bitter wave
Laughs loud above his bones!"

She laughs and hating yearns
Out toward the surf's far reach,
Like one in sleep, who, wild to weep,
Hath only moans for speech.

And when the sun had set,
And crocus heavens had fed
Their wan fire soon to a thorn-thin moon,
The flocking stars that led,

A breeze set in from sea
Most odorous with spice,
And streamed among big stars that hung
Thin mists as white as ice.

And then her eyes waxed large
With one last hideous hope,
And her throat she bent toward the firmament,
Star-scattered scope on scope.

The haunted night, that felt
The rapture so accursed,
Shook, loosening one green star that spun
Wild down the dusk and burst.

Fair was her face as Sin's;
"Ah, wretch!" she wailed, "to know
A wormy seat at Death's lean feet
May not undo such woe!

"The devil-wrangling pit
Much dearer than God's deeps
Of serious skies, where thought ne'er dies
And memory never sleeps!

"And dearer far than both,
Than Heaven or Hell, the jest,
The godless lot to rot and rot,
And not be cursed or blessed!"

(The end)
Madison Julius Cawein's poem: Where And What?

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