The Owlet, by Madison Cawein

I

  When dusk is drowned in drowsy dreams,
    And slow the hues of sunset die;
    When firefly and moth go by,
  And in still streams the new moon seems
      Another moon and sky:
    Then from the hills there comes a cry,
      The owlet's cry:
  A shivering voice that sobs and screams,
      With terror screams:—

  "Who is it, who is it, who-o-o?
  Who rides through the dusk and dew,
    With a pair of horns,
    As thin as thorns,
  And face a bubble-blue?—
    Who, who, who!
  Who is it, who is it, who-o-o?"

II

  When night has dulled the lily's white,
    And opened wide the moonflower's eyes;
    When pale mists rise and veil the skies,
  And round the height in whispering flight
        The night-wind sounds and sighs:
      Then in the wood again it cries,
        The owlet cries:
  A shivering voice that calls in fright,
        In maundering fright:—

  "Who is it, who is it, who-o-o?
  Who walks with a shuffling shoe
    'Mid the gusty trees,
    With a face none sees,
  And a form as ghostly, too?—
    Who, who, who!
  Who is it, who is it, who-o-o?"

III

  When midnight leans a listening ear
    And tinkles on her insect lutes;
    When 'mid the roots the cricket flutes,
  And marsh and mere, now far, now near,
        A jack-o'-lantern foots:
      Then o'er the pool again it hoots,
        The owlet hoots:
  A voice that shivers as with fear,
        That cries with fear:—

  "Who is it, who is it, who-o-o?
  Who creeps with his glowworm crew
    Above the mire
    With a corpse-light fire,
  As only dead men do?—
    Who, who, who!
  Who is it, who is it, who-o-o?"