When the thick rolling mists of September
Billow out among trees with leaves of gold
To lounge at the roots of needled timber,
And the afternoon air’s gilded with cold,
Then comes the hallowed season of autumn.
In this time, frosts rime grasses on a hill
And ice a slow stream’s course in the bottom
Of an old, majestic, and mountainous dell.
A scarlet cardinal trills in the still air
Deep within the mixed broadleaf and pine woods,
And an old croaking crow with feathers bare
Checks the soggy stump where she hoards her goods.
Shafts of dusty light pierce the canopy
To a moist forest floor littered with leaves;
This light reflects off the cobwebs’ dew
That beads the webs that ornament the trees.
It is damp, crisp, breezy. Mushrooms abound.
Trees rot and furnish homes for worms and ants.
At dawn, the wet woodland wakes with dim sound,
And fogs seem as mournful as remembrance.
If the mist is a kind of deathly shroud,
Then drops of raw rain are like clear jewels,
Falling like crystals from high, icy clouds
To make the earth miry and fill the clear pools.
The rain and mists, the careful husbandry,
The bees’ stores of honeyed provender
Are set against the coming scarcity.
All’s precious in fall, for an end is near.