A weed-grown slope, whereon the rain
Has washed the brown rocks bare,
Leads tangled from a lonely lane
Down to a creek's broad stair
Of stone, that, through the solitude,
Winds onward to a quiet wood.

An intermittent roof of shade
The beech above it throws;
Along its steps a balustrade
Of beauty builds the rose;
In which, a stately lamp of green
At intervals the cedar's seen.

The water, carpeting each ledge
Of rock that runs across,
Glints 'twixt a flow'r-embroidered edge
Of ferns and grass and moss;
And in its deeps the wood and sky
Seem patterns of the softest dye.

Long corridors of pleasant dusk
Within the house of leaves
It reaches; where, on looms of musk,
The ceaseless locust weaves
A web of summer; and perfume
Trails a sweet gown from room to room.

Green windows of the boughs, that swing,
It passes, where the notes
Of birds are glad thoughts entering,
And butterflies are motes;
And now a vista where the day
Opens a door of wind and ray.

It is a stairway for all sounds
That haunt the woodland sides;
On which, boy-like, the southwind bounds,
Girl-like, the sunbeam glides;
And, like fond parents, following these,
The oldtime dreams of rest and peace.