Immortal Autumn

Immortal Autumn





I speak this poem now with grave and level voice
In praise of autumn, of the far-horn-winding fall.

I praise the flower-barren fields, the clouds, the tall
Unanswering branches where the wind makes sullen noise.

I praise the fall: it is the human season.
No more the foreign sun does meddle at our earth,
Enforce the green and bring the fallow land to birth,
Nor winter yet weigh all with silence the pine bough,

But now in autumn with the black and outcast crows
Share we the spacious world: the whispering year is gone:
There is more room to live now: the once secret dawn
Comes late by daylight and the dark unguarded goes.

Between the mutinous brave burning of the leaves
And winter’s covering of our hearts with his deep snow
We are alone: there are no evening birds: we know
The naked moon: the tame stars circle at our eaves.

It is the human season. On this sterile air
Do words outcarry breath: the sound goes on and on.
I hear a dead man’s cry from autumn long since gone.

I cry to you beyond upon this bitter air.


Archibald Macleish

One thought on “Immortal Autumn

  1. From the Autumn Sonnets

    If I can let you go as trees let go
    Their leaves so casually, one by one,
    If I can come to know what they do know,
    That fall is the release, the consummation,
    Then fear of time and the uncertain fruit
    Would not distemper the great lucid skies
    This strangest Autumn, mellow and acute.
    If I can take the dark with open eyes
    And call it seasonal not dark or strange
    (For love itself may need a time of sleep)
    And, treelike, stand unmoved before the change,
    Lose what I lose to keep what I can keep,
    The strong root still alive under the snow,
    Love will endure – if I can let you go.

    May Sarton

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