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.
George Parsons Lathrop
George Parsons Lathrop was the author of Dreams and Days (Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1892) and Rose and Roof-Tree (James R. Osgood, 1875).
Date Published: 1892-01-01
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/incantation