Monday, 16 November 2015

Poetry Revisited: The Gray Sisters by Madison Julius Cawein

The Gray Sisters

(from Minions of the Moon. A Little Book of Song and Story: 1913)

What is that which walks by night
In flying tatters of leaves and weeds,
When the clouds rush by like daemon steeds,
And the moon is a jack-o'-lantern light
Low in the pool's dark reeds?
What is that, like a soul who sinned?
Is it a witch? or the Autumn wind?
What is that which sits and glowers
Under the trees by the forest pool?
With a cloak of moss whence the raindrops drule,
Chilling the air with a sense of showers
And touch of the cold toadstool:
What is that, with its breath of gloom?
Is it a witch? or the Fall perfume?
What is that in a mantle of gray,
With rags, like water, that wreathe and wind?
That gropes the forest, as if to find
A path, long-lost, on its midnight way,
Shadowy, old and blind:
What is that, so white and whist?
Is it a witch? or the Autumn mist?
You may have met them; you may have heard;
As I have heard them; as I have met:
The three gray sisters of wind and wet
Each With a spell or a cryptic word
Working her magic yet:
The three gray sisters, the witches old,
Daughters of Autumn, who haunt the wold.

Madison Julius Cawein

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