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A Dream of Autumn
by
James Whitcomb Riley


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Mellow hazes, lowly trailing
Over wood and meadow, veiling
Somber skies, with wild fowl sailing
Sailor-like to foreign lands;
And the north-wind overleaping
Summer's brink, and floodlike sweeping
Wrecks of roses where the weeping
Willows wring their helpless hands.


Flared, like Titan torches flinging

Flakes of flame and embers, springing
From the vale the trees stand swinging
In the moaning atmosphere;
While in dead'ning-lands the lowing
Of the cattle, sadder growing,
Fills the sense to overflowing
With the sorrow of the year.

Sorrowfully, yet the sweeter
Sings the brook in rippled meter

Under boughs that lithely teeter
Lorn birds, answering from the shores
Through the viny, shady-shiny
Interspaces, shot with tiny
Flying motes that fleck the winy
Wave-engraven sycamores.

Fields of ragged stubble, wrangled
With rank weeds, and shocks of tangled
Corn, with crests like rent plumes dangled
Over Harvest's battle-plain;
And the sudden whir and whistle
Of the quail that, like a missile,
Whizzes over thorn and thistle,
And, a missile, drops again.

Muffled voices, hid in thickets
Where the redbird stops to stick its
Ruddy beak betwixt the pickets
Of the truant's rustic trap;

And the sound of laughter ringing
Where, within the wild-vine swinging,
Climb Bacchante's schoolmates, flinging
Purple clusters in her lap.

Rich as wine, the sunset flashes
Round the tilted world, and dashes
Up the sloping west and splashes
Red foam over sky and sea
Till my dream of Autumn, paling

In the splendor all-prevailing,
Like a sallow leaf goes sailing
Down the silence solemnly.

 

This poem is in the public domain.

 

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James Whitcomb Riley (1849 - 1916) was an American poet best known for his children's poems and dialect-based verses. James was born in Greenfield, Indiana, and later moved to Indianapolis; homes in both cities are preserved and open to the public today. James was hugely popular during his lifetime. A bestselling author who traveled the country speaking to sell-out crowds, he never married or had children of his own, but he loved children and they loved him back. When he died, more than 35,000 people came to pay their respects as James lay in state under the Indiana capitol dome.  

 

 


New comments are closed for now.
KevinArnold:
Fine poem.
Posted 11/19/2015 11:13 AM
bbatcher:
I grew up listening to the words of the Hoosier poet as my mother read me "Little Orphant Annie," "When the Frost is on the Punkin'," etc. The poems I write now still reverberate with the rhythms I internalized then.
Posted 11/19/2015 10:39 AM
transitions:
"Viny, shady-shiny, tiny, winy is great too though you have to love thickets stick its pickets! A wonderful lesson in multi rhyming, great poem.
Posted 11/19/2015 10:21 AM
cork:
Mr. Riley would be amazed that October 2015 set the record for hottest month in history and that some of the causes were man-made.
Posted 11/19/2015 08:33 AM


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