The goldenrod is yellow,
The corn is turning brown,
The trees in apple orchards
With fruit are bending down;
The gentian’s bluest fringes
Are curling in the sun;
In dusty pods the milkweed
Its hidden silk has spun;
The sedges flaunt their harvest
In every meadow nook,
And asters by the brookside
Make asters in the brook;
From dewy lanes at morning
The grapes’ sweet odors rise;
At noon the roads all flutter
With yellow butterflies—
By all these lovely tokens— Helen Hunt Jackson
September days are here,
With summer’s best of weather
And autumn’s best of cheer.
Every valley drinks,
Every dell and hollow:
Where the kind rain sinks and sinks,
Green of Spring will follow.
Yet a lapse of weeks
Buds will burst their edges,
Strip their wool-coats, glue-coats, streaks,
In the woods and hedges;
Weave a bower of love
For birds to meet each other,
Weave a canopy above
Nest and egg and mother.
But for fattening rain
We should have no flowers,
Never a bud or leaf again
But for soaking showers;
Never a mated bird
In the rocking tree-tops,
Never indeed a flock or herd
To graze upon the lea-crops.
Lambs so woolly white,
Sheep the sun-bright leas on,
They could have no grass to bite
But for rain in season.
We should find no moss
In the shadiest places,
Find no waving meadow-grass
Pied with broad-eyed daisies;
But miles of barren sand,— Christina G. Rossetti
With never a son or daughter,
Not a lily on the land,
Or lily on the water.
The more we live, more brief appear
Our life’s succeeding stages:
A day to childhood seems a year,
And years like passing ages.
The gladsome current of our youth
Ere passion yet disorders,
Steals lingering like a river smooth
Along its grassy borders.
But as the careworn cheek grows wan,
And sorrow’s shafts fly thicker,
Ye Stars, that measure life to man,
Why seem your courses quicker?
When joys have lost their bloom and breath
And life itself is vapid,
Why, as we reach the Falls of Death,
Feel we its tide more rapid?
It may be strange—yet who would change
Time’s course to lower speeding,
When one by one our friends have gone
And left our bosoms bleeding?
Heaven gives our years of fading strength— Thomas Campbell
And those of youth, a seeming length,
Proportion’d to their sweetness.
My friend went to the piano; spun the stool— Stephen Vincent Benet
A little higher; left his pipe to cool;
Picked up a fat green volume from the chest;
And propped it open.
Whitely without rest,
His fingers swept the keys that flashed like swords,
… And to the brute drums of barbarian hordes,
Roaring and thunderous and weapon-bare,
An army stormed the bastions of the air!
Dreadful with banners, fire to slay and parch,
Marching together as the lightning’s march,
And swift as storm-clouds. Brazen helms and cars
Clanged to a fierce resurgence of old wars
Above the screaming horns. In-state, they passed,
Trampling and splendid on and sought the vast —
Rending the darkness like a leaping knife,
The flame, the noble pageant of our life!
The burning seal that stamps man’s high indenture
To vain attempt and most forlorn adventure;
Romance, and purple seas, and toppling towns,
And the wind’s valiance crying o’er the downs;
That nerves the silly hand, the feeble brain,
From the loose net of words to deeds again
And to all courage! Perilous and sharp
The last chord shook me as wind shakes a harp!
… And my friend swung round on his stool, and from gods we were men,
“How pretty!” we said; and went on with our talk again.
So we lay down the pen,— Geoffrey Bache Smith
So we forbear the building of the rime,
And bid our hearts be steel for times and a time
Till ends the strife, and then,
When the New Age is verily begun,
God grant that we may do the things undone.
Soup should be heralded with a mellow horn,
Blowing clear notes of gold against the stars;
Strange entrees with a jangle of glass bars
Fantastically alive with subtle scorn;
Fish, by a plopping, gurgling rush of waters,
Clear, vibrant waters, beautifully austere;
Roast, with a thunder of drums to stun the ear,
A screaming fife, a voice from ancient slaughters!
Over the salad let the woodwinds moan;–Stephen Vincent Benet
Then the green silence of many watercresses;
Dessert, a balalaika, strummed alone;
Coffee, a slow, low singing no passion stresses;
Such are my thoughts as — clang! crash! bang! — I brood
And gorge the sticky mess these fools call food!
“Be glad then, and rejoice in the Lord your God.”
—JOEL ii. 23.
‘Tis autumn now; the corn is cut,
But other gifts for us are spread,
The purple plum, the ripe brown nut,
And pears and apples, streaked with red,
Among the dark green branches shine,
Or on the grass beneath them fall;
While full green clusters deck the vine
That trails o’er trellis, roof, and wall.
In our dear land the laden trees–anonymous
Bespeak God’s providence and love;
He sends all needful gifts like these
For those who trust in Him above.
How good is He to make such choice
Of pleasant fruits for us to grow!
‘Tis meet, indeed, that we rejoice
In Him who loves His children so.