To hold my wishes and my happiness.
I have forgot that foolish, vain belief,
Now in my sere and yellow leaf, serene,
I offer Autumn all my homage now.
The eddies, whirling, rustling in my path,
Lure me like sprites, and from the leaves a voice:
“Say not our lesson is decay; we fall,
And lo, the naked trees in beauty lift
Their delicate tracery against the sky.
On the pale verdure of the grass we spread
A shining web of scarlet, bronze, and gold;
When the rain comes, the oaks uphold us still.
The holly shines, and waits the Christmas chimes,
Beneath the branches of the evergreens.”
November’s clouds without a shadow lift
The purple mountains of its airy sphere,
And all my purpose waits upon them now.
Day fades—a rose above the darkling sea,
And from the amber sky clear twilight falls;
The orange woods grow black, and I go forth,
And as I go, the noiseless airs pass by,
And touch me like the petals of a flower;
The cricket chirps me in the warm, dry sod,
Drowsy, and I would pipe a cheery strain;
But from the pines I hear the call of night,
And round the quiet earth the stars wheel up,
With me eternal, and I stay beneath,
Until I fade into the fading plain.
The testimony of my loss and gain
Will I give utterance to, though none may hear.
When long ago, bereft of all I loved,
I sought in Nature recompense, implored
For pity, solace, or forgetfulness,
“The dear, familiar seasons as they pass,
The seal of memory on every place,”
I said, “will give the sympathy I seek,
The restoration which they owe to me.”
By day and night I prayed as futile prayers
As the wind’s shriek in lonesome winter nights;
By the sea they fell as empty as the shells
Upon its sands, uncertain as its mists.
With them I tracked the shadows of the woods,
And sowed them in the fields among the seed;
Whoso reaped harvest, I could gather none.
I wandered in the thickets, giving tongue
Like a lost hound, dazed by their solitude,
The while birds called their mates, the lilies blazed,
And roses opened to the wandering airs.
They vanished with the leaves that voyaged the brook,
Which babbled of no story but its own.
How blind I was to Nature’s liberty!
Grief stalked beside me, I was sore beset,
And could not hear the turning of Time’s wheel.
Still were the skies serene, the earth most fair,
When with the doleful chant of dust to dust
Mingled the laughter of this sunlit sea;
And through my tears I saw the ripples dance,
And June’s sweet breezes kiss the swaying elms.
As he who turns the key within his door