The White Evening

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From gray, bleak hills 'neath steely skies
  Thro' beards of ice the forests roar;
  Along the river's humming shore
  The skimming skater bird-like flies.

  On windy meads where wave white breaks,
  Where fettered briers' glist'ning hands
  Reach to the cold moon's ghastly lands,
  Hoots the lorn owl, and crouching quakes.

  With frowsy snow blanched is the world;
  Stiff sweeps the wind thro' murmuring pines,
  Then fiend-like deep-entangled whines
  Thro' the dead oak, that vagrant twirled

  Phantoms the cliff o'er the wild wold:
  Ghost-vested willows rim the stream,
  Low hang lank limbs where in a dream
  The houseless hare leaps o'er the cold

  On snow-tressed crags that twinkling flash,
  Like champions mailed for clanking war,
  Glares down large Phosphor's quiv'ring star,
  Where teeth of foam the fierce seas gnash.

  Slim o'er the tree-tops weighed with white
  The country church's spire doth swell,
  A scintillating icicle,
  While fitfully the village light

  In sallow stars stabs the gray dark;
  Homeward the creaking wagons strain
  Thro' knee-deep drifts; the steeple's vane
  A flitting ghost whirls in its sark.

  Down from the flaky North with clash,
  Swathed in his beard of flashing sleet,
  With steeds of winds that jangling beat
  Life from the world, and roaring dash,--

  Loud Winter! ruddy as a rose
  Blown by the June's mild, musky lips;
  The high moon dims her horn that dips,
  And fold on fold roll down the snows.

© Madison Julius Cawein