Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE FEUD, by MADISON JULIUS CAWEIN

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THE FEUD, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Rocks, trees and rocks; and down a mossy stone
Last Line: Of distant hoofs that galloped riderless.

ROCKS, trees and rocks; and down a mossy stone
The murmuring ooze and trickle of a stream
Through bushes, where the mountain spring lies lone,--
A gleaming cairngorm where the shadows dream,--
And one wild road winds like a saffron seam.
Here sang the thrush, whose pure, mellifluous note
Dropped golden sweetness on the fragrant June;
Here cat--and blue-bird and wood-sparrow wrote
Their presence on the silence with a tune;
And here the fox drank 'neath the mountain moon.
Frail ferns and dewy mosses and dark brush--
Impenetrable briers, deep and dense,
And wiry bushes,--brush, that seemed to crush
The struggling saplings with its tangle, whence
Sprawled out the ramble of an old rail-fence.
A wasp buzzed by; and then a butterfly
In orange and amber, like a floating flame;
And then a man, hard-eyed and very sly,
Gaunt-checked and haggard and a little lame,
With an old rifle, down the mountain came.
He listened, drinking from a flask he took
Out of the ragged pocket of his coat;
Then all around him cast a stealthy look;
Lay down; and watched an eagle soar and float,
His fingers twitching at his hairy throat.
The shades grew longer; and each Cumberland height
Loomed, framed in splendours of the dolphin dusk.
Around the road a horseman rode in sight;
Young, tall, blonde-bearded. Silent, grim, and brusque,
He in the thicket aimed --The gun ran husk;
And echoes barked among the hills and made
Repeated instants of the shot's distress. --
then silence -- and the trampled bushes swayed; --
Then silence, packed with murder and the press
Of distant hoofs that galloped riderless.

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