The Old Garden

written by Madison Julius Cawein

The Old Garden

— Madison Julius Cawein

Spurge and sea-pink, hyssop blue,
Dragonhead of purple hue;
Catnip, frosted green and gray,
With blue butterflies a-sway,
These may point you out the way.

These and Summer's acolytes,
Crickets, singing days and nights,
Tell you the old road again;
And adown the tangled lane
Lead you to her window-pane.

Goldenrod and goldenglow
Crowd the gate in which you go;
To your arm they cling and catch,
Kiss the hand that lifts the latch,
Guide you to her garden-patch.

O'er the fence the hollyhock
Leans to greet you; and the stock
Looks as if it thought, 'I knew
You were coming. Gave the cue
To the place to welcome you.'

And the crumpled marigold
And the dahlia, big and bold,
With Sweet Williams, white and red,
Nod at you a drowsy head
From the sleepy flowerbed.

Where all day the brown bees croon,
Honey-drunk; and stars and moon
All night long lean down to hear,
In the silence far and near,
Whippoorwills a-calling clear.

While adown the dewy dark
Flits a flame, a firefly spark,
Leading to a place of myrrh,
Where, in lace and lavender,
Waits the Loveliness of her.

About the poet


Madison Julius Cawein

Madison Cawein (23 March 1865 – 8 December 1914) was a poet from Louisville, Kentucky, whose poem "Waste Land" has been linked with T. S. Eliot's later The Waste Land. Cawein's father made patent medicines from herbs. Cawein thus became acquainted with and developed a love for local nature as a child. He worked in a Cincinnati pool hall as an assistant cashier for six years, saving his pay so he could return home to write. His output was thirty-six books and 1,500 poems. He was known as the "Keats of Kentucky." In 1912 Cawein was forced to sell his Old Louisville home, St James Court (a two-and-a-half story brick house built in 1901, which he had purchased in 1907), as well as some of his library, after losing...

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