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Poem by Madison Julius Cawein

A Belgian Christmas

The "happy year" of 1914
AN hour from dawn:
The snow sweeps on
As it swept with sleet last night:
The Earth around
Breathes never a sound,
Wrapped in its shroud of white.
A waked cock crows
Under the snows;
Then silence. After while
The sky grows blue,
And a star looks through
With a kind o' bitter smile.
A whining dog;
An axe on a log,
And a muffled voice that calls:
A cow's long low;
Then footsteps slow
Stamping into the stalls.
A bed of straw
Where the wind blows raw
Through cracks of the stable door:
A child's small cry,
A voice nearby,
That says, "One mouth the more."
A different note
In a man's rough throat
As he turns at an entering tread 
Satyrs! see!
"My woman  she
Was brought last night to bed!"
A cry of "Halt!"
"Ach! ich bin kalt!"
"A spy!""No.""That is clear!
There's a good shake-down
I' the jail in town 
For her!" And then, "My orders here."
A shot, sharp-rolled
As the clouds unfold:
A scream; and a cry forlorn
Clothed red with fire,
Like the Heart's Desire,
Look down the Christmas Morn.
The babe with light
Is haloed bright,
And it is Christmas Day:
A cry of woe;
Then footsteps slow,
And the wild guns, far away.

Madison Julius Cawein

Madison Julius Cawein's other poems:
  1. The Picture
  2. The Ribbon
  3. The Wood God
  4. Processional
  5. Poe

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