Transformation

written by Madison Julius Cawein

Transformation

— Madison Julius Cawein

It is the time when, by the forest falls,
The touch-me-nots hang fairy folly-caps;
When ferns and flowers fill the lichened laps
Of rocks with colour, rich as orient shawls:
And in my heart I hear a voice that calls
Me woodward, where the hamadryad wraps
Her limbs in bark, and, bubbling in the saps,
Sings the sweet Greek of Pan's old madrigals:
There is a gleam that lures me up the stream
A Naiad swimming with wet limbs of light?
Perfume that leads me on from dream to dream
An Oread's footprints fragrant with her flight?
And, lo! meseems I am a Faun again,
Part of the myths that I pursue in vain.

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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