Some Imitations



(Madison Cawein)

OH, the golden afternoon! —
Like a ripened summer day
That had fallen oversoon
In the weedy orchard-way —
As an apple, ripe in June.

He had left his fishrod leant
O'er the footlog by the spring —
Clomb the hill-path's high ascent,
Whence a voice, down showering,
Lured him, wondering as he went.

Not the voice of bee nor bird,
Nay, nor voice of man nor child,
Nor the creek's shoal-alto heard
Blent with warblings sweet and wild
Of the midstream, music-stirred.

'Twas a goddess! As the air
Swirled to eddying silence, he
Glimpsed about him, half aware
Of some subtle sorcery
Woven round him everywhere.

Suavest slopes of pleasaunce, sown
With long lines of fruited trees
Weighed o'er grasses all unmown
But by scythings of the breeze
In prone swaths that flashed and shone

Like silk locks of Faunus sleeked
This, that way, and contrawise,
Through whose bredes ambrosial leaked
Oily amber sheens and dyes,
Starred with petals purple-freaked.

Here the bellflower swayed and swung,
Greenly belfried high amid
Thick leaves in whose covert sung
Hermit-thrush, or katydid,
Or the glowworm nightly clung.

Here the damson, peach and pear;
There the plum, in Tyrian tints,
Like great grapes in clusters rare;
And the metal-heavy quince
Like a plummet dangled there.

All ethereal, yet all
Most material, — a theme
Of some fabled festival —
Save the fair face of his dream
Smiling o'er the orchard wall.



(Sidney Lanier)

U P from, and out of, and over the opulent woods and the plains,
Lo! I leap nakedly loose, as the nudest of gods might choose,
For to dash me away through the morning dews
And the rathe Spring rains —
Pat and pet the little green leaves of the trees and the grass,
Till they seem to linger and cling, as I pass,
And are touched to delicate contemporaneous tears of the rain and the dew,
That lure mine eyes to weeping likewise, and to laughter, too:
For I am become as the balmiest, stormiest zephyr of Spring,
With manifold beads of the marvelous dew and the rain to string
On the bended strands of the blossoms, blown
And tossed and tousled and over-thrown,
And shifted and whirled, and lifted unfurled
In the victory of the blossoming
Of the flags of the flowery world.
Yea, and behold! and a riotous zephyr, at last,
I subside; I abate; I pass by; I am past.
And the small, hoarse bass of the bumblebee
Is my requiem-psalm,
And I fling me down to a listless, loitering, long eternity
Of amiable calm.



(Joel Chandler Harris)

Dey wunce wuz er time which I gwineter tell you 'bout it —
An' it's easy ter believe it sho'ly ez it is ter doubt it! —
So des you pick yer " ruthers " whilse I tell how ole Br'er Rabbit
Wunce know de time when he git de fightin' habit.
Co'se he ain't no bragger, des a-rippin' an' a-rarin'
An' a-darin' all de beestus an' a-des a-double-darin'
Sich ez Mr. Jonus Lion, er Sir Mr. Twister Tagger,
Er Sister Hisstopottomus, er A'nt Ferjinny Ja'gger!
Yit, des de same, he layin' low an' know he got de muscle
What sho' ter s'prise mos' any size what crowd 'im fer a tussle. —
But speshully he 'spise de Dawg , an' sight er one des make 'im
Fergit hisse'f an' run 'em down an' grab 'em up an' shake 'em! —
An', mo' 'n dat, ef 'twuzn't fer de Dawg-law den ag'in it,
He'd des a-kilt off ev'y Dawg dat's chasin' him dis minute!



IF Browning only were here,
This yule-ish time o' the year —
This mule-ish time o' the year,
Stubbornly still refusing
To add to the rhymes we've been using
Since the first Christmas-glee
(One might say) chantingly
Rendered by rudest hinds
Of the pelt-clad shepherding kinds
Who didn't know Song from b-
U-double-l's-foot! — pah! —
(Haply the old Egyptian ptah —
Though I'd hardly wager a baw-
Bee — or a bumble , for that —
And that's flat!) . . .
But the thing that I want to get at
Is a rhyme for Christmas —
Nay! nay! nay! nay! not isthmus —
The t- and the h-sounds covertly are
Gnawing the nice auricular
Senses until one may hear them gnar —
And the terminal, too, for m as is m us ,
So that will not do for us.
Try for it — sigh for it — cry for it — die for it!
O but if Browning were here to apply for it,
He'd rhyme you Christmas —
He'd make a mist pass
Over — something o' ruther —
Or find you the rhyme's very brother
In lovers that kissed fast
To baffle the moon — as he'd lose the t -final
In fas-t as it blended with to (mark the spinal
Elision — tip-clipt as exquisitely nicely
And hyper-exactingly sliced to precisely
The extremest technical need): Or he'd twist glass ,
Or he'd have a kissed lass ,
Or shake 'neath our noses some great giant fist-mass —
No matter! If Robert were here, he could do it,
Though it took us till Christmas next year to see through it.





Oh, my little Sadie Sue, I's a-serenadin' you —
Fer you's de onliest lady-love o' mine;
De White Folk's dance done over, I has still a chune er two
Below your winder's mohnin'-gloryvine.

Your good ole mammy's gyarden is, fer shore, a ha'nted place,
Dis midnight whilse I's cropin' 'mongst de bloom;
Yit de moon dah 'bove de chimbly ain' no fairer dan de face
What's hidin' 'hind de curtain o' your room.


Den wake, my colored blonde with eyes o' blue,
An' lips ez red ez roses renshed with dew;
Yo' hair ez fair an' fine
Ez de skeins o' June sunshine,
My little, light-complected Sadie Sue!

In de " Gran's " old dinin'-hall, playin' fer de White Folk's ball,
I watch deir pick o' ladies ez dey glide,
An' says I, " My Sadie Sue she 'ud shorely best you all
Ef she 'uz here a-waltzin' by my side! "
Den I laugh all to myse'f-like, ez I swipe de twangin' strings
An' shet my eyes in sweetest dreams o' you, —
Fer you're my heart's own music dat forever beats an' sings —
My soul's own serenade — my Sadie Sue!


Den wake, my colored blonde with eyes o' blue,
An' lips ez red ez roses renshed with dew;
Yo' hair ez fair an' fine
Ez de skeins o' June sunshine,
My little, light-complected Sadie Sue!



Chuck's allus had de Hoodoos bad! —
Do what he kin to lose 'em,
Dey track dat coon, by sun er moon,
Des like dey cain't uxcuse 'im!
An' more he gyaurd 'em off, more hard
Hit 'pear-like dat they press 'im —
De onliest luck dey 'low ole Chuck
Is dis enough to 'stress 'im!

He taken care — no matter where
He's walkin' 'long de street an'
See any ladder leanin' there,
Er cross-eyed man he's meetin' —
Dat eye o' his ketch wher' dey is,
An', quick as " scat, " Chuck's hittin'
De curb outside, an' watch wile-eyed
Fust lef'-han' place to spit in!

He' got toenails o' bats; an' snails
Shet hot in deir shell-houses
Wid sealin'-wax; an' little backs
O' turkles in his trouse's:
A moleskin-pu's; an' possum's han' —
Des ever' charm an' wonder —
An' barber-chair o' shore hosshair —
An' hoss-shoe hangin' under!

" An' yit, " says Chuck, " I got no luck: —
De Hoodoos still a-bafflin'
Dis po' ole saint what knows he ain't —
'Twix' shootin' craps an' rafflin'!
No overcoat — ner underwear, —
Right on de aidge o' winter
I's up aginst de wust layout
Dey's ever got me inter! "
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