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A poem by Madison Julius Cawein

Along The Ohio

Title:     Along The Ohio
Author: Madison Julius Cawein [More Titles by Cawein]

Athwart a sky of brass rich ribs of gold;
A bullion bulk the wide Ohio lies;
Beneath the sunset, billowing manifold,
The purple hill-tops rise.

And lo! the crescent of a crystal moon,
And great cloud-feathers flushed with crimson light
Drifting above the pureness of her lune,
Rent from the wings of night.

A crescent boat slips o'er the burnished stream;
A silver wake, that broadens far behind,
Follows in ripples, and the paddles gleam
Against the evening wind.

So, in this solitude and evening hush,
Again to me the Old Kentucky glooms
Behold the red man lurking in yon bush
In paint and eagle plumes.

And now the breaking of the brittle brush--
An altered forehead hirsute swells in view,
And now comes stealing down the river's gush
The dip of the canoe.

The wigwams glimmer in night's settling waves,
And, wildly clad, around the camp-fire's glow
Sit long-haired chieftains 'mid their wily braves,
Each grasping his war-bow.

But now yon boat on fading waters fades;
The ostrich-feathered clouds have lost their light,
And from the West, like somber sachem shades,
Gallop the shades of night.

The broad Ohio wavers 'neath the stars,
And many murmurs whisper 'mid the woods--
Tumultuous mournings of dead warriors
For their lost solitudes.

And like a silver curl th' Ohio lies
Among the earth's luxuriance of hair;
Majestic as she met the red man's eyes--
As beautiful and fair.

No marvel that the warrior's love waxed flame
Fighting for thee, Kentucky, till he wound
Inseparably 'round thee that old name
Of dark and bloody ground!

But peace to those wild braves whose bones are thine!
And peace to those rude pioneers whose moon
Of glory rose, 'mid stars of lesser shine,
In name of Daniel Boone!

"Peace! peace!" the lips of all thy forests roar;
The rivers mutter peace unto thy strand:
Thy past is dead, and let us name thee o'er,

[The end]
Madison Julius Cawein's poem: Along The Ohio