Low, swallow-swept and gray,
Between the orchard and the spring,
All its wide windows overflowing hay,
And crannied doors a-swing,
The old barn stands to-day.
Deep in its hay the Leghorn hides
A round white nest; and, humming soft
On roof and rafter, or its log-rude sides,
Black in the sun-shot loft,
The building hornet glides.
Along its corn-crib, cautiously
As thieving fingers, skulks the rat;
Or, in warped stalls of fragrant timothy,
Gnaws at some loosened slat,
Or passes shadowy.
A dream of drouth made audible
Before its door, hot, smooth, and shrill
All day the locust sings…. What other spell
Shall hold it, lazier still
Than the long day’s, now tell?–
Dusk and the cricket and the strain
Of tree-toad and of frog; and stars
That burn above the rich west’s ribbed stain;
And dropping pasture bars,
And cow-bells up the lane.
Night and the moon and katydid,
And leaf-lisp of the wind-touched boughs;
And mazy shadows that the fire-flies thrid;
And sweet breath of the cows;
And the lone owl here hid.
—Old Barn by Madison Julius Cawein
Peon by Mallard
Mallard was comprised of members of Captain Beefheart’s Magic Band. This song was the closing track from their eponymous debut album of 1975 (and perhaps last), Peon originally appeared on Beefheart’s Lick My Decals Off album. Here it has a more reflective mood.