Autumn


Lo, ’tis autumn,
Now the delicious September has set in, balmy cool,
The autumn days themselves,
Sweet days; so cool, so calm, so bright,
(Yet not so cool either, about noon.)
A serene autumn sun and westerly breeze,
The river and bay get more and more beautiful, under these skies resplendent in September beauty.

The woods are a real spectacle, colored with all the rich colors of autumn.
The trees, deeper green, yellower and redder,
Yellows of all hues, pale and dark-green, shades from the lightest to richest red,
Cool and sweeten villages with leaves fluttering in the moderate wind.

Juicy autumnal fruit ripe and red from the orchard,
Apples ripe in the orchards hang and grapes on the trellis’d vines.
Inhaling the ripe breath of autumn—
Smell you the smell of the grapes on the vines?
(The grapes are very good and plenty this year,

I took up three great bunches, each as big as my fist,)
Smell you the blossoming buckwheat fields, where the Ninth-month bees were lately buzzing,
The sniff of green leaves and dry leaves,
Of the turbid pool that lies in the autumn forest, and of hay in the barn?

Now mellow, crisp autumn days, bright moonlight nights,
One dilates and feels like work again,
Now I awhile retire to thee O soil of autumn fields, and gathering the corn,
The corn, stack’d in its cone-shaped stacks, russet-color’d and sere,
The great plumes, the ears well-envelop’d in their husks, all now turn’d dingy.
A large field spotted thick with scarlet-gold pumpkins,
Melon patches, with their bulging ovals, and great silver-streak’d, ruffled, broad-edged leaves,
And many an autumn sight and sound beside.

The ample door of the peaceful country barn stands open and ready,
The dried grass of the harvest-time loads the slow-drawn wagon,
The clear light plays on the brown gray and green intertinged,
The armfuls are pack’d to the sagging mow.
I am there, I help, I came stretch’d atop of the load,
I felt its soft jolts, one leg reclined on the other,
I jump from the cross-beams and seize the clover and timothy,
And roll head over heels and tangle my hair full of wisps.

Indian summer—a jaunt, a long, slow, easy ramble,
As toilsome I wander’d Virginia’s woods,
Musing late in the autumn day, gazing off southward,
To the music of rustling leaves kick’d by my 
feet.

Out of the Ninth-month midnight pour’d over all the September breeze,
And the one I love most lay sleeping by me in the cool night,
In the stillness in the autumn moonbeams his face was inclined toward me.

I saw the first palpable frost, on my sunrise walk, October,
All over the yet-green spread a light blue-gray veil, giving a new show to the entire landscape,
As I returned along the lane it had turn’d to glittering patches of wet—
Thou hot October noon! flooding with sheeny light the gray beach 
sand,
The migrating flock of wild geese alighting in autumn to refresh themselves,
to bask in the autumn sun. 

Pleasantly over the autumn fields shone the November sun,
The hillside late in autumn, the hues of red, yellow, drab, purple, and light and dark green,
With the clear sky of autumn overhead,
That delicate, transparent blue, peculiar to autumn.

The fall is upon us. Overcoats are in demand. Cloudy and coolish; signs of incipient winter.
Yet pleasant here, the leaves thick-falling, the ground brown with them already; rich coloring, all set in and toned down by the prevailing brown of the earth and gray of the sky.
So, winter is coming; and I yet in my sickness.

Winds of autumn, at dusk I heard your long-stretch’d sighs up above so mournful,
With pensive cadence through the tree tops,
Lingering sparse leaves on winter-nearing boughs,
(Not now the flush of May, or July clover-bloom—no grain of August now.)
The dead leaf whirling its spiral whirl and falling still and content to the ground,
Wafted autumn leaf, dropt in the closing grave, the shovel’d earth;
In farmers’ barns oxen in the stable, their harvest labor done, they rest standing, they are too tired.

NEXT: Winter