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The Old Barn

by Madison Cawein

Low, swallow-swept and gray,
Between the orchard and the spring,
All its wide windows overflowing hay,
And crannied doors a-swing,
The old barn stands to-day.

Deep in its hay the Leghorn hides
A round white nest; and, humming soft
On roof and rafter, or its log-rude sides,
Black in the sun-shot loft,
The building hornet glides.

Along its corn-crib, cautiously
As thieving fingers, skulks the rat;
Or in warped stalls of fragrant timothy,
Gnaws at some loosened slat,
Or passes shadowy.

A dream of drouth made audible
Before its door, hot, smooth, and shrill
All day the locust sings… What other spell
Shall hold it, lazier still
Than the long day's, now tell:—

Dusk and the cricket and the strain
Of tree-toad and of frog; and stars
That burn above the rich west's ribbéd stain;
And dropping pasture bars,
And cow-bells up the lane.

Night and the moon and katydid,
And leaf-lisp of the wind-touched boughs;
And mazy shadows that the fireflies thrid;
And sweet breath of the cows,
And the lone owl here hid.

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