Phantoms, by Madison Cawein
This was her home; one mossy gable thrust
Above the cedars and the locust trees:
This was her home, whose beauty now is dust,
A lonely memory for melodies
The wild birds sing, the wild birds and the bees.
Here every evening is a prayer: no boast
Or ruin of sunset makes the wan world wroth;
Here, through the twilight, like a pale flower's ghost,
A drowsy flutter, flies the tiger-moth;
And dusk spreads darkness like a dewy cloth.
In vagabond velvet, on the placid day,
A stain of crimson, lolls the butterfly;
The south wind sows with ripple and with ray
The pleasant waters; and the gentle sky
Looks on the homestead like a quiet eye.
Their melancholy quaver, lone and low,
When day is done, the gray tree-toads repeat:
The whippoorwills, far in the afterglow,
Complain to silence: and the lightnings beat,
In one still cloud, glimmers of golden heat.
He comes not yet: not till the dusk is dead,
And all the western glow is far withdrawn;
Not till,—a sleepy mouth love's kiss makes red,—
The baby bud opes in a rosy yawn,
Breathing sweet guesses at the dreamed-of dawn.
When in the shadows, like a rain of gold,
The fireflies stream steadily; and bright
Along the moss the glowworm, as of old,
A crawling sparkle—like a crooked light
In smoldering vellum—scrawls a square of night,—
Then will he come; and she will lean to him,—
She,—the sweet phantom,—memory of that place,—
Between the starlight and his eyes; so dim
With suave control and soul-compelling grace,
He cannot help but speak her, face to face.