White from her chrysalis of cloud,
The moth-like moon swings upward through the night;
And all the bee-like stars that crowd
The hollow hive of heav'n wane in her light.
Along the distance, folds of mist
Hang frost-pale, ridging all the dark with gray;
Tinting the trees with amethyst,
Touching with pearl and purple every spray.
All night the stealthy frost and fog
Conspire to slay the rich-robed weeds and flowers;
To strip of wealth the woods, and clog
With piled-up gold of leaves the creek that cowers.
I seem to see their Spirits stand,
Molded of moonlight, faint of form and face,
Now reaching high a chilly hand
To pluck some walnut from its spicy place:
Now with fine fingers, phantom-cold,
Splitting the wahoo's pods of rose, and thin
The bittersweet's balls o' gold,
To show the coal-red berries packed within:
Now on dim threads of gossamer
Stringing pale pearls of moisture; necklacing
The flow'rs; and spreading cobweb fur,
Crystaled with stardew, over everything:
While 'neath the moon, with moon-white feet,
They go and, chill, a moon-soft music draw
From wan leaf-cricket flutes the sweet,
Sad dirge of Autumn dying in the shaw.