The Old Byway, by Madison Cawein
Its rotting fence one scarcely sees
Through sumac and wild blackberries,
Thick elder and the bramble-rose,
Big ox-eyed daisies where the bees
Hang droning in repose.
The little lizards lie all day
Gray on its rocks of lichen-gray;
And, insect-Ariels of the sun,
The butterflies make bright its way,
Its path where chipmunks run.
A lyric there the redbird lifts,
While, twittering, the swallow drifts
'Neath wandering clouds of sleepy cream,—
In which the wind makes azure rifts,—
O'er dells where wood-doves dream.
The brown grasshoppers rasp and bound
Mid weeds and briers that hedge it round;
And in its grass-grown ruts,—where stirs
The harmless snake,—mole-crickets sound
Their faery dulcimers.
At evening, when the sad west turns
To lonely night a cheek that burns,
The tree-toads in the wild-plum sing;
And ghosts of long-dead flowers and ferns
The winds wake, whispering.