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If It Might Be
Edward Dowden


If it might be, I would not have my leaves
Drop in autumnal stillness one by one,
Like these pale fluttering waifs that heap sad sheaves
Through mere inertia trembling, tottering down.

Better one roaring day, one wrestling night,
The dark musicianís fiercer harmony,
And then abandoned bareness, or the light
Of strange discovered skies, if it might be.

This poem is in the public domain.

Edward Dowden (1843 - 1913) was an Irish poet and literary critic who began writing early in life and had a particular interest in Shakespeare. A university professor who believed firmly that literature should be a routine part of life, Edward was a friend and staunch fan of American contemporary Walt Whitman, but maintained an ongoing clash with Irish contemporary William Butler Yeats over their opposing political viewpoints.


Post New Comment:
("not with a bang but a whimper"- Eliot) ("rage against the dying of the light"- Thomas) Does Dowden's poem express how he hopes his death will be? roaring? wrestling? Then, seeing "the light of strange abandoned skies"? If his poem is solely about Autumn, I agree with D.A. below: I love it as it is.
Posted 10/19/2021 11:40 AM
I like this poem!
Posted 10/12/2021 01:49 PM
Darrell Arnold:
I guess I'll be the contrarian. I am happy that the leaves take their time finding their way to the ground. And I am happy that fall lingers. Instead of being plunged into a snowy winter, which I have experienced every year for 75 of them, I am allowed by fall to prepare for it, gradually. And I can savor the delicious, lingering days of fall --cool but not cold, and brilliantly beautiful. A One-Dump fall doesn't fit me at all.
Posted 10/12/2021 09:28 AM
Strong poem, and Jayne's bio makes me aware how interesting a Dowden/Whitman/Yeats bionovel/biopic might be. And Larry Schug's thoughts on Autumn were running along the same lines. Wow.
Posted 10/12/2021 09:20 AM
cork: immediate blanket of leaves!
Posted 10/12/2021 09:05 AM
Larry Schug:
I think I wrote this same poem at 6:20 this morning using different words and a different form. Is my muse psychic or a plagiarist or is it just the spell cast by autumn? "strange discovered skies"-gotta love that phrase.
Posted 10/12/2021 07:44 AM

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