Ah, haughty hills, sardonic solitudes,
What wizard touch hath, crowning you with gold,
Cast Tyrian purple o’er broad-shouldered woods,
And to your pride anointed empire sold
For wan traditioned death, whose misty moods
Shake each huge throne of quarried shadows cold?
Now where the agate-foliaged forests sleep,
Bleak briars are ruby-berried, and the brush
Flames–when the winds armsful of motion heap
In wincing gusts upon it–amber blush;
The beech an inner beryle breaks from deep
Encrusting topaz of a sullen flush.
Dead gold, dead bronze, dull amethystine rose,
Rose cameo, in day’s gray, somber spar
Of smoky quartz–intaglioed beauty–glows
Luxuriance of color. Trunks that are
Vast organs antheming the winds’ wild woes
A faded sun and pale night’s paler star.
Bulged from its cup the dark-brown acorn falls,
And by its gnarly saucer in the streams
Swells plumped; and here the spikey spruce-gum balls
Rust maces of an ouphen host that dreams;
Beneath the chestnut the split burry hulls
Disgorge fat purses of sleek satin gleams.
Burst silver white, nods an exploded husk
Of snowy, woolly smoke the milk-weed’s puff
Along the orchard’s fence, where in the dusk
And ashen weeds,–as some grim Satyr’s rough
Red, breezy cheeks burn thro’ his beard,–the brusque
Crab apples laugh, wind-tumbled from above.
Runs thro’ the wasted leaves the crickets’ click,
Which saddest coignes of Melancholy cheers;
One bird unto the sumach flits to pick
Red, sour seeds; and thro’ the woods one hears
The drop of gummy walnuts; the railed rick
Looms tawny in the field where low the steers.
Some slim bud-bound Leimoniad hath flocked,
The birds to Echo’s shores, where flossy foams
Boom low long cream-white cliffs.–Where once buzzed
Unmillioned bees within unmillioned blooms,
One hairy hummer cramps one bloom, frost mocked,–rocked
A miser whose rich hives squeeze oozing combs.
Twist some lithe maple and right suddenly
A leafy storm of stars about you breaks–
Some Hamadryad’s tears: Unto her knee
Wading the Naiad clears her brook that streaks
Thro’ wadded waifs: Hark! Pan for Helike
Flutes melancholy by the minty creeks.
(Madison Julius Cawein)
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Based on Keywords: dark-brown, cramps, sumach, bulged, gnarly, wincing, walnuts, quarried, gummy, sardonic, cameo