James Edwin Campbell

Through October Fields

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The startled quail in covies whir
From 'neath your feet as on you stray
Along the narrow thread-like path,
This cool October day.


The grouse's booming drum of bass
Peals from the hollow on your right,
Till 'larumed by your near approach
He wheels in sudden flight.


And on the trunk of yon dead tree
The "flicker"[1] beats his fierce tattoo,
Then hurls back from his wave-like flight
Defiance shrill to you.


On every side the golden rod's
Long, graceful plumes of tawny gold
And ageratum's purple bloom --
The banners of the wold.


The stubble of the June-reaped wheat
Stands up in bristling ranks of spears,
Its gold is covered now with frost,
Like warriors grey with years.


And over all the golden haze
Soft wraps the brown Earth in a dream,
While every breath across the fields
Rich draughts of rare wines seem.


There in the stream beneath the elms,
The leaves, like ships of Lil'put, fair,
Drift down, sans rudders and sans sails
To ports that lie nowhere.


See in the field beyond the stream,
Pitched wide o'er all the bottom land,
An Indian village quaintly shown,
The cornshock wigwams stand.


Now, you are "near to nature's heart,"
You lie upon her tawny breast;
You feel her warm breath on your cheek
As in her arms you rest.

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James Edwin Campbell