The Spell, by Madison Cawein

  "We have the receipt of fern seed: we walk invisible."
  —HENRY IV

  And we have met but twice or thrice!—
    Three times enough to make me love!—
    I praised your hair once; then your glove;
  Your eyes; your gown;—you were like ice;
    And yet this might suffice, my love,
    And yet this might suffice.

  St. John hath told me what to do:
    To search and find the ferns that grow
    The fern seed that the faeries know;
  Then sprinkle fern seed in my shoe,
    And haunt the steps of you, my dear,
    And haunt the steps of you.

  You'll see the poppy pods dip here;
    The blow-ball of the thistle slip,
    And no wind breathing—but my lip
  Next to your anxious cheek and ear,
    To tell you I am near, my love,
    To tell you I am near.

  On wood-ways I shall tread your gown—
    You'll know it is no brier!—then
    I'll whisper words of love again,
  And smile to see your quick face frown:
    And then I'll kiss it down, my dear,
    And then I'll kiss it down.

  And when at home you read or knit,—
    Who'll know it was my hands that blotted
    The page?—or all your needles knotted?
  When in your rage you cry a bit:
    And loud I laugh at it, my love,
    And loud I laugh at it.

  The secrets that you say in prayer
    Right so I'll hear: and, when you sing,
    The name you speak; and whispering
  I'll bend and kiss your mouth and hair,
    And tell you I am there, my dear,
    And tell you I am there.

  Would it were true what people say!—
    Would I could find that elfin seed!
    Then should I win your love, indeed,
  By being near you night and day—
    There is no other way, my love,
    There is no other way.

  Meantime the truth in this is said:
    It is my soul that follows you;
    It needs no fern seed in the shoe,—
  While in the heart love pulses red,
    To win you and to wed, my dear,
    To win you and to wed.