BESIDE the country road with truant grace
Wild carrot lifts its circles of white lace.
From vines whose interwoven branches drape
The old stone walls, come pungent scents of grape.
The sumach torches burn; the hardhack glows;
From off the pines a healing fragrance blows;
The pallid Indian pipe of ghostly kin
Listens in vain for stealthy moccasin.
In pensive mood a faded robin sings;
A butterfly with dusky, gold-flecked wings
Holds court for plumy dandelion seed
And thistledown, on throne of fireweed.
The road goes loitering on, till it hath missed
Its way in goldenrod, to keep a tryst,
Beyond the mosses and the ferns that veil
The last faint lines of its forgotten trail,
With Lonely Lake, so crystal clear that one
May see its bottom sparkling in the sun
With many-colored stones. The only stir
On its green banks is of the kingfisher
Dipping for prey, but oft, these haunted nights,
That mirror shivers into dazzling lights,
Cleft by a falling star, a messenger
From some bright battle lost, Excalibur.