Saturday, December 10, 2016

The Fall of the Leaf / Richard Watson Dixon

The Fall of the Leaf

Rise in their place the woods: the trees have cast,
Like earth to earth, their children: now they stand
Above the graves where lie their very last:
Each pointing with her empty hand
And mourning o’er the russet floor,      
Naked and dispossessed;
The queenly sycamore,
The linden, and the aspen, and the rest.

But thou, fair birch, doubtful to laugh or weep,
Who timorously dost keep      
From the sad fallen ring thy face away;
Wouldst thou look to the heavens which wander grey,
The unstilled clouds, slow mounting on their way?
They not regard thee, neither do they send
One breath to wake thy sighs, nor gently tend      
Thy sorrow or thy smile to passion’s end.

Lo, there on high the unlighted moon is hung,
A cloud among the clouds: she giveth pledge,
Which none from hope debars,
Of hours that shall the naked boughs re-fledge      
In seasons high: her drifted train among
Musing she leads the silent song,
Grave mistress of white clouds, as lucid queen of stars.

Richard Watson Dixon (1833-1900)
from Songs and Odes, 1896

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Richard Watson Dixon biography

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