Elusion, by Madison Cawein

I

  My soul goes out to her who says,
  "Come, follow me and cast off care!"
  Then tosses back her sun-bright hair,
  And like a flower before me sways
  Between the green leaves and my gaze:
  This creature like a girl, who smiles
  Into my eyes and softly lays
  Her hand in mine and leads me miles,
  Long miles of haunted forest ways.

II

  Sometimes she seems a faint perfume,
  A fragrance that a flower exhaled
  And God gave form to; now, unveiled,
  A sunbeam making gold the gloom
  Of vines that roof some woodland room
  Of boughs; and now the silvery sound
  Of streams her presence doth assume—
  Music, from which, in dreaming drowned,
  A crystal shape she seems to bloom.

III

  Sometimes she seems the light that lies
  On foam of waters where the fern
  Shimmers and drips; now, at some turn
  Of woodland, bright against the skies,
  She seems the rainbowed mist that flies;
  And now the mossy fire that breaks
  Beneath the feet in azure eyes
  Of flowers; now the wind that shakes
  Pale petals from the bough that sighs.

IV

  Sometimes she lures me with a song;
  Sometimes she guides me with a laugh;
  Her white hand is a magic staff,
  Her look a spell to lead me long:
  Though she be weak and I be strong,
  She needs but shake her happy hair,
  But glance her eyes, and, right or wrong,
  My soul must follow—anywhere
  She wills—far from the world's loud throng.

V

  Sometimes I think that she must be
  No part of earth, but merely this—
  The fair, elusive thing we miss
  In Nature, that we dream we see
  Yet never see: that goldenly
  Beckons; that, limbed with rose and pearl,
  The Greek made a divinity:—
  A nymph, a god, a glimmering girl,
  That haunts the forest's mystery.