Autumn’s Unabated Appearance

by Ann Neilson

Today marks the Autumn Equinox—those two delightful words which bring a crisp taste of nostalgia to the tongue. Cozily blanketed evenings; effervescent leaves resignedly dropping to the earth, blanketing the world in gamboge and golden hues; warm fires snapping vivaciously amidst an atmosphere of dark cheer; these are merely a few of the memories I carry with me of Autumn from my younger years.

I must be candid, Autumn is debatably my favorite season, albeit being closely tied with Winter. Therefore, please look forward to a new Autumnal-themed poem every few days or so (or perhaps more frequently than that) throughout the rest of this month and into October. It is a season to be celebrated, and several of my dead literary friends certainly left us with substantial content to last us several more Falls to come. To begin, I want to share a poem that I have greatly enjoyed for a while; one which is now, I believe, transcribed for the first time here in cyberspace.

THE LAST DAYS OF AUTUMN
By James Gates Percival

Now the growing year is over,
And the shepherd’s tinkling bell
Faintly from its winter cover
Rings a low farewell:—
Now the birds of Autumn shiver,
Where the wither’d beech-leaves quiver,
O’er the dark and lazy river,
In the rocky dell.

Now the mist is on the mountains,
Reddening in the rising sun;
Now the flowers around the fountains
Perish one by one:—
Not a spire of grass is growing,
But the leaves that late were glowing,
Now its blighted green are strowing
With a mantle dun.

Now the torrent brook is stealing
Faintly down the furrow’d glade—
Not as when in winter pealing,
Such a din is made,
That the sound of cataracts falling
Gave no echo so appalling,
As its hoarse and heavy brawling
In the pine’s black shade.

Darkly blue the mist is hovering
Round the clifted rock’s bare height—
All the bordering mountains covering
With a dim, uncertain light:—
Now, a fresher wind prevailing,
Wide its heavy burden sailing,
Deepens as the day is failing,
Fast the gloom of night.

Slow the blood-stain’d moon is riding
Through the still and hazy air,
Like a sheeted spectre gliding
In a torch’s glare:—
Few the hours, her light is given—
Mingling clouds of tempest driven
O’er the mourning face of heaven,
All is blackness there.