I wondered what was the source
Of the secret sadness of autumn
Behind the bronzed patina of sun
That turned the grasses, buildings
Of brick and stone to flame,
And lent faces a kindly glamour.
The cider-light warmed my skin, yet
The nip of frost in the air stung,
And the sweetness of apples tumbled
To the ground mingled with whiffs of ice
Blown in sudden gusts from far north.
I wondered what was the reason
For the tear-sheen of twilight
Humid with contained sorrow
And redolent with salt of the sea.
Gilt clouds swelled to round fullness
As blue, pink, gold, lavender,
All mingled colors of the day
Spilled upon the ebb-tide,
Drowned in tide-pools left behind
And illumined my upturned face
With a tender glory.
At last I understand the sorrow
And the fierce need to empty
The inner riches of the heart
At the feet of the world, to blaze
Before the cold and the dark
Take everything away. Now
In the evening, inhaling
The chill autumnal breath
I shed a tear in empathy.