At Summer’s End
Now in the sweet September chill
I watch the yellowing leaf spin down
and am remembering suddenly
a summer evening warm and still:
the mellow air was pink and clear,
with pink phlox sentinel in the dusk
and in the far blue-arching sky
one sharp star standing white and near.
And now the phlox is cut away
and where the lilacs hummed with bees
the leaves hang empty, dreaming of
that drugged and scented latter day.
But ah, my heart is not afraid
and sees no threat in this decline
from sun-warmed flowers to splitting pod,
knowing it will not be betrayed.
Time is no enemy to fear.
Love knows time’s secret and is glad,
and stands with wide arms, welcoming
all seasons in each friendly year.
The passing of the summer fills again
my heart with strange sweet sorrow, and I find
the very moments precious in my palm.
Each dawn I did not see, each night the stars
in spangled pattern shone, unknown to me,
are counted out against me by my God,
who charges me to see all lovely things:
the clear, unresting moon, the night-filled sea,
rolling shadowed waves along the shore,
the cool wind, speaking softly of the flowers
in moon-drenched beauty by the garden wall,
the bright, relentless glamor of the day,
the ocean, curling out upon the sand,
and tumbling foamy combers to their end.
Each time my eyes uncomprehending saw
these lovely things, and passed them by unmoved,
the keen-eyed angel, frowning, moves the pen
and leaves his record stained, immutable.
The sheep crop on the stony hill,
the martins skim the evening sky,
the golden day-fall lingers still;
one star stands high.
The barley field is silver-gold;
it stirs beneath the breath of night.
The thrushes pour their songs of old
in fading light.
Thy harvest yield is ever free,
so let it grow within my heart
to bring me into peace with thee,
no more apart.