TREES IN AUTUMN By Alice M. Shepard


Chestnut Tree in Autumn
TREES IN AUTUMN
By Alice M. Shepard

When Summer's sun with fervent heat
Has ripened corn, and oats, and wheat;
When yellow pumpkins dot the fields,
And fragrance tells of apple yields;
When tardy blooms give way to seed
Of garden flower, and roadside weed;
Then Autumn's alchemists appear
To pay gold for the vanished year.

They touch a branchlet here and there,
And sombre leaves begin to flare;
A torch is thrown from tree to tree,
And red fire flashes, wild and free;
The lowly bushes catch the blaze,
And burn with blue flame in the haze;
Whole groves are shining with the glint
Of coins, just taken from the mint.

The country road and city street
Form a procession, fit to greet
Return of hero or of king;
Then at a touch the leaves take wing,
The fields are spread with cloth of gold,
A crimson carpet, fold on fold,
Lines gutter, hollow, gap and hole;
Yet every errant breeze takes toll.

And, as they dance, and whirl, and fly,
Their hue is caught up to the sky,
Where all the sunsets give it back,—
A vivid, gorgeous zodiac.
Against the glow the naked bough
Reveals an unknown fairness now,
And grace of line is seen to be
The innate beauty of the tree.