Dream Winds | Vanished Days | Autumn Night | Spring | The Unanswered | The Buddha


W. J. CASH, '22


Sometimes as I sit at evening
In the fire-light's ruddy glow,
And watch the smoke upcurling
From the embers dying slow,
There comes a vision stealing
From the land of the long ago.

And the flickering shadows rising,
From the grate-fire's fitful flare,
Yield place, like a curtain parting,
To a spirit, pure and fair;
That fairy-like comes floating
To bend above my chair.

And the years are backward rolling,

And again I'm a tiny lad,
With a gilded toy that's broken--
And a heart that's grieved and sad.
But the spirit soothes my childish tears
And makes my sad heart glad.

While she tells me of the fairies,
And of Him who raised the dead;
And kneeling there before her chair

My childish prayers are said.
Then she picks me up with a merry toss
And tucks me away in bed.

And then she bends to kiss me,
With a smile all glad and gay,
And I read the love in my mother's
But the vision fades away,
Leaving me alone with shadows
And the ashes, cold and gray.


W. J. CASH, '22

There's a world wind comes a'blowing
From some realm I cannot know;
Comes at morn when cocks a' crowing
Wake my dreams and bid them go;
Comes at eve with skies a'glowing--
Dream-tales fair it whispers low.

'Used to come to me a'dreaming
As I lay and watched the sky,
Telling me of crowns a'gleaming
To be mine bye and bye;
Fame and wealth and honors teeming--
'Twas a world without a sigh.

Once it came to me a'bringing
Maiden from some fairy's train,
With a voice like larks a'singing,

Eyes that shamed the starry plain,
Filled with love my heart a'winging--
Much of joy and much of pain.

Oft it comes to me a'sighing
Tales of worlds beyond the sea,
Much it wears itself a'trying
To make known the days to be,
Sadly, softly, it comes crying--
Many things unknown to me.



Back in the far dim country of the years that have vanished away
Lie the world-old dreaming fancies of a fellow's boyhood day--
Dreams that at winter's evening from the log-fires flame we drew,
Scenes from the springtime's morning, tinged with the warm skies blue;
There are the golden stories, filled with a lightsome joy,
Told by
the errant elf-winds to the dreaming heart of a boy.

Back in that distant valley lives a tale of matchless fame--
Brave deeds and laurel wreathings to match a noble name--
Shadows, and ghosts, and goblins, and the shivering bogey fears
The lure of distant places, and the love of buccaneers;
There are the tears and the kisses when we made our mothers sad--
The cleanness and the goodness that live in the heart of a lad.

Back in that fading vista is the dream of an old-time girl,
And the oldest, sweetest stories of the stories of the world.
Her hair was like the brown leaves, touched with the sunlight's
And her eyes held all the glory of the heaven's deepest blue--
There are the hopes of first love, and the smiles that made us glad,
And the words that built a rose-world in the longing heart of a lad.

Back in the far dim country of the years that have vanished away
Lies a fellow's fondest dreamland, when his head is turning gray--
The wish to still his heart--hurt with the crooning of the trees
And laugh at the pain of failure with his boyhood's happy ease
There are the whispering night-winds, the laughter and the joy
And the fancies that we sigh for in the dreaming heart of a boy.


W. J. CASH, '22

A spirit haunts my troubled hours
As I wander alone through darkened bowers;
To me it sighs
Of nameless hopes and fancies fled,
Of memories old, and dreams long dead,
And fond goodbyes.

As I pause beneath the sighing trees
And snatch the fragrance of the cool, damp breeze,
To me it talks
Of forgotten joys that are sere and brown,
As the dead rose leaves that the wind whirls 'round
In the dim walks.

While, in tune with the night, my whole soul grieves
With the dying year and the falling leaves,
It whispers low
With a quiet sadness that falls like a blight
O'er the riddle I plead of the silent night
And cannot know.


W. J. Cash, '22

There's a tonch of spring in the air, today,
There's a smell of spring in the air.
Methouglit the spring bird sang today,
And the sky seemed so blue and so fair.

And the wanderlust leaped in my blood, today,
And my heart cried out to be free,
As I dreamed of a moonlit Southern bay
Or the roar of a far, far sea.

And, today, I dreamed of a maid of the South
And she seemed, oh, so fair and so dear,
And I longed for the kiss of her warm, sweet mouth
And I knew that spring was here!



When these cold stars shall pale and die
And suns grow old within the sky--
When blackness hovers on the deep
And Night and Ruin their vigil keep--
Shall Life go out as now it goes
From fading heart of summer rose?

When earth and stars from place shall roll
And crumple to a mighty whole;
When ocean, hill, and beating heart
Shall mingle in a common part--
Shall Love itself go out as goes
The beauty from the morning snows?




Now, Old Teacher of India's brown-skinned brood,
Now--I say--at last I understand.
And in this little hour
While yet I claim the mood,
To you, across the dim forgotten years,
Goes out my weary understanding heart--
For now I know that
From the crest of some far hill
You must have seen the blue of heaven
Bend to kiss the purple sea,
And, watching from some
Lonely pine-encircled place
Across a flaming, windswept peak
You must have known a sunset painting
All the sky across with iridescent lace
Of red and gold--
You must have longed, as I have longed,
To know the answer to the unforgiving
Pain that filled your heart,
And found it--
But the echo of old
Heart-haunting scenes--the unforgetting
Hurt that beauty gave to you and when--
Three thousand years ago--
You loved--as I have loved--
A love that called to you and when
You would have answered
Left you to wander
Through the dreary valley of the disenchanted years
With weary heart, alone--
You must have found, as I have found,
That such old wounds
Could never heal--
And known the mockery of the stars,
The sunset, and the sea until
You sought a haven in your
Fatalistic creed--
Yes--Old Sakya-muni--I can understand
Why you should care to believe
That heaven could but be
In endlessly forgetting.

The Spirit | Dream Winds | Vanished Days | Autumn Night | Spring | The Unanswered | The Buddha

--From The Wake Forest Student, Vol. XL (1920-21), Cash's junior year, "Spring" and "The Spirit"; from Vol. XLI (1921-22), senior year, "Dream Winds", "Vanished Days", "Autumn Night"; from Vol. XLII (1922-23), first (and only) year of law school, "The Unanswered", (October, 1922), and "The Buddha", (January, 1923). "The Spirit" won faculty prize as poem of the year for 1921. (See, W.J. Cash: A Life, by Bruce Clayton, pp. 29-31)

Special thanks to Tim C. of the Forsyth County (N.C.) Public Library for the contribution of the 1921 and 1922 poems, as well as The Howler junior yearbook photographs from his collection of Cash memorabilia. (Cash is the fellow at back on the wing images of the tryptich.) Also thanks to the helpful staff of the Wake Forest University Library Baptist Collection for locating and copying "The Unanswered" and "The Buddha".

Besides his creative writing contributions to The Student, Cash was the editor of the student newspaper, The Old Gold and Black, in his senior year at Wake Forest. In time, we will endeavor to add some of Cash's progressive collegiate editorials. (E.g., see "Possibilities", at this site.)

Thanks to David Griffiths for the rippling waters at the top of the page, "The Lake" applet.

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