Preludes, by Madison Cawein


  There is no rhyme that is half so sweet
  As the song of the wind in the rippling wheat;
  There is no metre that's half so fine
  As the lilt of the brook under rock and vine;
  And the loveliest lyric I ever heard
  Was the wildwood strain of a forest bird.—
  If the wind and the brook and the bird would teach
  My heart their beautiful parts of speech,
  And the natural art that they say these with,
  My soul would sing of beauty and myth
  In a rhyme and metre that none before
  Have sung in their love, or dreamed in their lore,
  And the world would be richer one poet the more.


  A thought to lift me up to those
  Sweet wildflowers of the pensive woods;
  The lofty, lowly attitudes
  Of bluet and of bramble-rose:
  To lift me where my mind may reach
  The lessons which their beauties teach.

  A dream, to lead my spirit on
  With sounds of faery shawms and flutes,
  And all mysterious attributes
  Of skies of dusk and skies of dawn:
  To lead me, like the wandering brooks,
  Past all the knowledge of the books.

  A song, to make my heart a guest
  Of happiness whose soul is love;
  One with the life that knoweth of
  But song that turneth toil to rest:
  To make me cousin to the birds,
  Whose music needs not wisdom's words.