I. Misty are the far-off hills And misty are the near; Purple hazes dimly lie Veiling hill and field and sky, Marshes where the hylas cry, Like a myriad bills Piping, "Spring is here!" II. A redbird flits, Then sings and sits And calls to his mate, "She is late! she is late! How long, how long must the woodland wait For its emerald plumes And its jewelled blooms? She is late! she is late!" III. Along the stream, A cloudy gleam, The pussy-willows, tufted white, Make of each tree a mighty light; Pearl and silver and glimmering gray They tassel the boughs of the willow way; And as they swing they seem to say, With mouths of bloom And warm perfume: IV. "Awake! awake! For young Spring's sake, O little brown bees in hive and brake! Awake! awake! For sweet Spring's sake, O butterflies whose wild wings ache With colors rare As flowers wear! And hither, hither, Before we wither! Oh, come to us, All amorous With honey for your mouths to buss. V. "Hearken! hearken! Last night we heard A wondrous word: When dusk did darken The rain and the wind sat in these boughs, As in a great and shadowy house. At first we deemed We only dreamed, And then it seemed We heard them whisper of things to be, The wind and the rain in the willow tree, A sweet, delicious conspiracy, To take the world with witchery: They talked of the fairy brotherhoods Of blooms and blossoms and leaves and buds, That ambushed under the winter mold And under the bark of the forest old: And they took our breath With the shibboleth, The secret word that casts off death, That word of life no man may guess; That wondrous word Which we then heard, That bids life rise Beneath the skies; Rise up and fill Far wood and hill With myriad hosts of loveliness, Invading beauty that love shall bless. VI. "Then in our ears, Our woolly ears, Our little ears of willow bloom, Like wild perfume We seemed to hear dim woodland cheers Of hosts of flowers That soon would run Through fields and bowers, And to the sun Lift high their banners of blue and gold, And storm the ways of the woodland old. VII. "Awake! awake! For young Spring's sake, O hylas sleeping in marsh and lake! Tune up your pipes and play, play, play! Tune, tune your reeds in ooze and clay, And pipe and sing Till everything Knows, gladly knows, Sowing the rose, The lily and rose, With her breast blown bare And the wind in her hair, And the birds around her everywhere, The Spring, the Spring. The young witch Spring, With lilt and laughter, and rain and ray, Comes swiftly, wildly up this way."
Madison Julius Cawein’s other poems:
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