Held in a late season
At a shifting of worlds,
In the golden balance of autumn,
Out of love and reason
We made our peace;
Stood still in October
In the failing light and sought,
Each in the other, ease
And release from silence,
From the slow damnation
Of speech that is weak
And falls from silence.
In the October sun
By the green river we spoke,
Late in October, the leaves
Of the water maples had fallen.
But whatever we said
In the bright leaves was lost,
Quick as the leaf-fall,
Brittle and blood red.
"A Reminiscence" - Richard O. Moore
"The Ride of Death (The Fall and Death)" - Arnold Böcklin
"Autumn" - Jacek Yerka
The south-wind strengthens to a gale,
Across the moon the clouds fly fast,
The house is smitten as with a flail,
The chimney shudders to the blast.
On such a night, when Air has loosed
Its guardian grasp on blood and brain,
Old terrors then of god or ghost
Creep from their caves to life again;
And Reason kens he herits in
A haunted house. Tenants unknown
Assert their squalid lease of sin
With earlier title than his own.
Unbodied presences, the pack’d
Pollution and remorse of Time,
Slipp’d from oblivion reënact
The horrors of unhouseld crime.
Some men would quell the thing with prayer
Whose sightless footsteps pad the floor,
Whose fearful trespass mounts the stair
Or burts the lock’d forbidden door.
Some have seen corpses long interr'd
Escape from hallowing control,
Pale charnel forms—nay ev’n have heard
The shrilling of a troubled soul,
That wanders till the dawn hath cross’d
The dolorous dark, or Earth hath wound
Closer her storm-spredd cloke, and thrust
The baleful phantoms underground.
"Low Barometer" - Robert Bridges
I want no horns to rouse me up to-night,
And trumpets make too clamorous a ring
To fit my mood, it is so weary white
I have no wish for doing any thing.
A music coaxed from humming strings would please;
Not plucked, but drawn in creeping cadences
Across a sunset wall where some Marquise
Picks a pale rose amid strange silences.
Ghostly and vaporous her gown sweeps by
The twilight dusking wall, I hear her feet
Delaying on the gravel, and a sigh,
Briefly permitted, touches the air like sleet
And it is dark, I hear her feet no more.
A red moon leers beyond the lily-tank.
A drunken moon ogling a sycamore,
Running long fingers down its shining flank.
A lurching moon, as nimble as a clown,
Cuddling the flowers and trees which burn like glass.
Red, kissing lips, I feel you on my gown—
Kiss me, red lips, and then pass—pass.
Music, you are pitiless to-night.
And I so old, so cold, so languorously white.
"Nuit Blanche" - Amy Lowell
Dawn comes later and later now,
and I, who only a month ago
could sit with coffee every morning
watching the light walk down the hill
to the edge of the pond and place
a doe there, shyly drinking,
then see the light step out upon
the water, sowing reflections
to either side—a garden
of trees that grew as if by magic—
now see no more than my face,
mirrored by darkness, pale and odd,
startled by time. While I slept,
night in its thick winter jacket
bridled the doe with a twist
of wet leaves and led her away,
then brought its black horse with harness
that creaked like a cricket, and turned
the water garden under. I woke,
and at the waiting window found
the curtains open to my open face;
beyond me, darkness. And I,
who only wished to keep looking out,
must now keep looking in.
"A Letter in October" - Ted Kooser
The fog has risen from the sea and crowned
The dark, untrodden summits of the coast,
Where roams a voice, in canyons uttermost,
From midnight waters vibrant and profound.
High on each granite altar dies the sound,
Deep as the trampling of an armored host,
Lone as the lamentation of a ghost,
Sad as the diapason of the drowned.
The mountain seems no more a soulless thing,
But rather as a shape of ancient fear,
In darkness and the winds of Chaos born
Amid the lordless heavens' thundering -
A Presence crouched, enormous and austere,
Before whose feat the mighty waters mourn.
"Night on the Mountain" - George Sterling
As my Scotch, spared the water, blondly sloshes
About its tumbler, and gay manic flame
Is snapping in the fireplace, I grow youthful:
I realize that calendars aren’t truthful
And that for all of my grand unsuccesses
External causes are to blame.
And if at present somewhat destitute,
I plan to alter, prove myself more able,
And suavely stroll into the coming years
As into rooms with thick rugs, chandeliers,
And colorfully pyramided fruit
On linened lengths of table.
At times I fear the future won’t reward
My failures with sufficient compensation,
But dump me, aging, in a garret room
Appointed with twilit, slant-ceilinged gloom
And a lone bulb depending from a cord
Suggestive of self-strangulation.
Then, too, I have bad dreams, in one of which
A cowled, scythe-bearing figure beckons me.
Dark plains glow at his back: it seems I’ve died,
And my soul, weighed and judged, has qualified
For an extended, hyper-sultry hitch
Down in eternity.
Such fears and dreams, however, always pass.
And gazing from my window at the dark,
My drink in hand, I’m jauntily unbowed.
The sky’s tiered, windy galleries stream with cloud,
And higher still, the dazed stars thickly mass
In their long Ptolemaic arc.
What constellated powers, unkind or kind,
Sway me, what far preposterous ghosts of air?
Whoever they are, whatever our connection,
I toast them (toasting also my reflection),
Not minding that the words which come to mind
Make the toast less toast than prayer:
Here’s to the next year, to the best year yet;
To mixed joys, to my harum-scarum prime;
To auguries reliable and specious;
To times to come, such times being precious,
If only for the reason that they get
Shorter all the time.
"On the Eve of a Birthday" - Timothy Steele
An agitation of the air,
A perturbation of the light
Admonished me the unloved year
Would turn on its hinge that night.
I stood in the disenchanted field
Amid the stubble and the stones,
Amazed, while a small worm lisped to me
The song of my marrow-bones.
Blue poured into summer blue,
A hawk broke from his cloudless tower,
The roof of the silo blazed, and I knew
That part of my life was over.
Already the iron door of the north
Clangs open: birds, leaves, snows
Order their populations forth,
And a cruel wind blows.
"End of Summer" - Stanley Kunitz