From: The Bird and the Bell with Other Poems (1875)
Author: Christopher Pearse Cranch
Published: Osgood and Company 1875 Boston


THROUGH golden gates of leaves, through columns gray
Of elms and maples old, whose boughs enlace
In bright cathedral arches overhead,
Enwreathed with scarlet vines; through bosky tufts
Of underbrush, and willows still so green
Along the hidden brooks, they seem to hold
The summer snared, nor heed the threatening frost,
The calm October days pass one by one,
Smiling in rosy sunsets, ere they flit
Forever from the earth. How silently
They march, timed to the crickets’ ceaseless chirp
Through the still noon, while tall flowers mark their path,
Blue succory, purple asters, golden-rod,
Wild yellow stars, and lonely cardinal-flowers
Whose crimson petals light the sluggish streams.
A clear and wholesome spirit in the air
Touches the earth and all earth’s greenest robes
With change so gradual we can feel no loss
Of life, but only mellower, richer hues, –
With music more pathetic, as the wind
Harps through the woods, and red and yellow leaves
Flutter to earth, and whirl in huddled heaps.
So may our little lives, their sap withdrawn,
After their long, still summers, tossed, perchance,
At times, by thunder-gusts or drenched in rains
Of tears, pass peacefully, complete in years
And in that wisdom years alone can bring;
And, having well fulfilled their allotted work,
Sink to their rest, or to their life beyond!


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