I sit alone on wicker chair
And watch the sky drain grey to blue.
The autumn blanket, late arrived,
Laid gently over tree and hill,
Knew little welcome but from me.
That longed-for azure morning missed
By friends and passersby alike–
How could they grieve its absence when
For so long it has sat the throne
And banished clouds both near and far
To distant realms beyond our sight
And kept the winds themselves at bay,
A lonely breeze our only guest?
How misty mornings soon gave way
To sunny hours until dark,
Our line of sight unbroken from
Horizon to horizon.
The trees knew only whispered words,
The hush of silent secrets kept
Within one corner of the woods
Without the means for moving on.
And giddy bodies, nearly bare,
Stood reveling in sheer delight
At summer’s tardy exodus,
At fall’s apparent impotence.
And yet before this hour began
We lay beneath that hallowed shroud,
Reminded once again, it seemed,
That autumn’s might would not be quelled,
Could not be doubted, nor dispelled.
The lilting breeze became a wind;
I heard the roar of oak and spruce.
The redwoods spoke with mighty voice
And boomed their tales for all to hear
In words that few can understand
But fewer still dare to ignore.
The song of ages pierced the day
And made us mortal beings shake
To recognize, in fear or bliss,
That chills will seize us one and all
And force us into shoes and socks;
That jackets, sweaters, even coats
Will soon abandon closet shelves;
That hats will hide our wind-blown hair
And collars cover throat and neck.
The bleakness is returning, friends,
And stark skies lie ahead in wait,
For though the blue emerged once more–
A final wave while heaven-bound–
The clouds have tumbled in again,
The air is cool and promise-filled,
And in the eucalyptus grove,
Among the branches and the leaves,
A song is growing loud and deep:
‘It comes, it comes, it comes–it’s here.’