A soft veil dims the tender skies,
And half conceals from pensive eyes
The bronzing tokens of the fall;
A calmness broods upon the hills,
And summer’s parting dream distills
A charm of silence over all.
The stacks of corn, in brown array,
Stand waiting through the placid day,
Like tattered wigwams on the plain;
The tribes that find a shelter there
Are phantom peoples, forms of air,
And ghosts of vanished joy and pain.
At evening when the crimson crest
Of sunset passes down the West,
I hear the whispering host returning;
On far-off fields, by elm and oak,
I see the lights, I smell the smoke,–
The Camp-fires of the Past are burning.
– Henry Van Dyke