Madison Cawein: The Path to the Woods

The Path to the Woods

Madison Cawein

Its friendship and its carelessness Did lead me many a mile, Through goat's-rue, with its dim caress, And pink and pearl-white smile; Through crowfoot, with its golden lure, And promise of far things, And sorrel with its glance demure And wide-eyed wonderings.
It led me with its innocence, As childhood leads the wise, With elbows here of tattered fence, And blue of wildflower eyes; With whispers low of leafy speech, And brook-sweet utterance; With bird-like words of oak and beech, And whisperings clear as Pan's.
It led me with its childlike charm, As candor leads desire, Now with a clasp of blossomy arm, A butterfly kiss of fire; Now with a toss of tousled gold, A barefoot sound of green, A breath of musk, of mossy mold, With vague allurements keen.
It led me with remembered things Into an old-time vale, Peopled with faëry glimmerings, And flower-like fancies pale; Where fungous forms stood, gold and gray, Each in its mushroom gown, And, roofed with red, glimpsed far away, A little toadstool town.
It led me with an idle ease, A vagabond look and air, A sense of ragged arms and knees In weeds grown everywhere; It led me, as a gypsy leads, To dingles no one knows, With beauty burred with thorny seeds, And tangled wild with rose.
It led me as simplicity Leads age and its demands, With bee-beat of its ecstasy, And berry-stained touch of hands; With round revealments, puff-ball white, Through rents of weedy brown, And petaled movements of delight In roseleaf limb and gown.
It led me on and on and on, Beyond the Far Away, Into a world long dead and gone, — The world of Yesterday: A faëry world of memory, Old with its hills and streams, Wherein the child I used to be Still wanders with his dreams.