When the leaves, by thousands thinned, A thousand times have whirled in the wind, And the moon, with hollow cheek, Staring from her hollow height, Consolation seems to seek From the dim, reechoing night; And the fog-streaks dead and white Lie like ghosts of lost delight O’er highest earth and lowest sky; Then, Autumn, work thy witchery! Strew the ground with poppy-seeds, And let my bed be hung with weeds, Growing gaunt and rank and tall, Drooping o’er me like a pall. Send thy stealthy, white-eyed mist Across my brow to turn and twist Fold on fold, and leave me blind To all save visions in the mind. Then, in the depth of rain-fed streams I shall slumber, and in dreams Slide through some long glen that burns With a crust of blood-red ferns And brown-withered wings of brake Like a burning lava-lake;— So, urged to fearful, faster flow By the awful gasp, “Hahk! hahk!” of the crow, Shall pass by many a haunted rood Of the nutty, odorous wood; Or, where the hemlocks lean and loom, Shall fill my heart with bitter gloom; Till, lured by light, reflected cloud, I burst aloft my watery shroud, And upward through the ether sail Far above the shrill wind’s wail;— But, falling thence, my soul involve With the dust dead flowers dissolve; And, gliding out at last to sea, Lulled to a long tranquillity, The perfect poise of seasons keep With the tides that rest at neap. So must be fulfilled the rite That giveth me the dead year's might; And at dawn I shall arise A spirit, though with human eyes, A human form and human face; And where’er I go or stay, There the summer’s perished grace Shall be with me, night and day.
This poem is in the public domain.