To Fall

A poem by Madison Julius Cawein

Sad-Hearted spirit of the solitudes,
Who comest through the ruin-wedded woods!
Gray-gowned with fog, gold-girdled with the gloom
Of tawny twilights; burdened with perfume
Of rain-wet uplands, chilly with the mist;
And all the beauty of the fire-kissed
Cold forests crimsoning thy indolent way,
Odorous of death and drowsy with decay.
I think of thee as seated 'mid the showers
Of languid leaves that cover up the flowers,
The little flower-sisterhoods, whom June
Once gave wild sweetness to, as to a tune
A singer gives her sours wild melody,
Watching the squirrel store his granary.
Or, 'mid old orchards I have pictured thee:
Thy hair's profusion blown about thy back;
One lovely shoulder bathed with gypsy black;
Upon thy palm one nestling check, and sweet
The rosy russets tumbled at thy feet.
Was it a voice lamenting for the flowers?
A heart-sick bird that sang of happier hours?
A cricket dirging days that soon must die?
Or did the ghost of Summer wander by?

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