Sunday, October 25, 2015

Mid-October / Helen Birch Bartlett


Leaves whirl about my feet;
Leaves, leaves dance over my head —
Brown leaves.
And their madness and love of death blow through my heart.
(Oh, the perfume of these drifting golden leaves!)      

What wine can stain the soul with redder glory
Than this wild, sudden thirst for sudden death?

They rise like clouds of incense
From swift-swinging golden censers —
Clouds and clouds!    
And the western sky is a glow of light
As yellow and white as the face of a Christian saint.

Autumn, autumn!
I will not live!
I’ll go now, now, with all my memories and my joys.    

I will not live
To have them blown
Like ashes from an altar by capricious winds.

Helen Birch Bartlett (1883-1925)
from Poetry, October 1917

[Poem is in the public domain in Canada, the United States, and the European Union]

Helen Birch Bartlett biography

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