Lord Alfred Douglas

(1870 - 1945 / England)

Ode To Autumn


Thou sombre lady of down-bended head,
And weary lashes drooping to the cheek,
With sweet sad fold of lips uncomforted,
And listless hands more tired with strife than meek ;
Turn here thy soft brown feet, and to my heart,
Unmatched to Summer's golden minstrelsy,
Or Spring's shrill pipe of joy, sing once again
Sad songs, and I to thee
Well tuned, will answer that according part
That jarred with those young seasons' gladder strain.

Give me thy empty branches for the biers
Of perished joys, thy winds to sigh my sighs,
Thy falling leaves to count my falling tears,
And all thy mists to dim my aching eyes.
There is no comfort in thy lips, and none
In thy cold arms, nor pity in thy breast,
But better 'tis in gray hours to have grief,
Than to affront the sun
With sunless woe, when every flower and leaf
Conspires to make the season merriest.

The drip of rain-drops on the sodden earth,
The trampled mud-stained grass, the shifting leaves,
The silent hurrying birds, the sickly birth
Of the red sun in misty skies, the sheaves
Of rotting ruined corn, the sudden gusts
Of angry winds, the clouds that fly all night
Before the stormy moon, thy desolate moans,
All thy decays and rusts,
Thy deaths and dirges, these are tuned aright
To my unquiet soul that sorrow owns.

But ah ! thy gentler mood, the honeyed kiss
Of thy faint watery sunshine, thy pale gold,
Thy dark red berries, and the ambergris
That paints the lingering leaves, while on the mould,
Their dead make bronze and sepia carpetings
That lightly rustle in thy quiet breath.
These are the shadows of departed smiles,
The ghosts of happy things ;
These break again the broken heart, the whiles
Thou goest onto winter, I to Death.

Submitted: Monday, April 12, 2010

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