Hand in hand they wandered
north-eastward across the vales
during the beautiful autumn time
in England’s Yorkshire Dales.
The sun shone over the valleys
nature was never so fair,
on the day he wooed the one he loved,
the girl with the flaxen hair.
The depth of his soul was captured
by a softness, pure as the snow.
His young life he would surrender
because he adored her so.
Voices echoed from a village church
and as he knelt before his love…
he could hear Mendelssohn’s melody:
‘O For the Wings of a Dove’.
Who else within the whole wide world
could feel such ecstasy rare?
At a time when fairy-tales came true,
they both vowed their lives to share.
– Joyce Hemsley
The cold breeze through the window left ajar as I rest
Reminds me that summer is gone and autumn is stirring,
Bringing sadness as the lawn is mown for the last time
Sadness as summer shorts give way to warmer trousers.
I watch as the cycle begins again, that dreaded cyclical
Pattern we can’t get out of, daytime and night,
Seedtime and harvest, laughter and tears, life and death
Only death breaks the dreaded cycle, death the end of all.
Oh joyous death, the end of life, of change, of stress
Beginning of new dimensions, of new experiences,
Glimpsed by sages in Antiquity, by Greeks by Persians
By Chinese, by Jews, by too many not to want it.
Autumn, bring on autumn, bring on winter,
Bring on spring and the following summer
Until I’ve seen them all and sleep to wake no more,
Bring on the seasons, the cycle the change, until my end.
– James Hart
Dinner and day together go,
As round the table still we dwell,
Watching the sun descending slow,
Our faces shine with day’s farewell.
This is the moment of all time
When stillness reigneth over all:
When life calms down, the highest lime
Moves not, nor any leaf dares fall.
Shall we sit still in low-voiced talk
Anticipating lamp and book,
Or once more take a sauntering walk
Hill-ward to catch the sun’s last look?
The lambs and sheep have parted long,
No anxious bleat nor moor-hen’s call
Is heard, nor robin’s autumn song,
Absolute stillness reigns o’er all.
Over the orange-tinted brae,
Against that wondrous north-west sky,
Over the far sea golden-gray,
Where no horizon we descry.
A glorified world is there, behold,
Above that cloud-bank growing dim,
Where the great king hath laid his head,
Fragments of crimson still unfold:
Cherubim’s wings are ruby red,
So these may be the cherubim!
Now we return with noiseless tread,
These cottage doors are shut betimes,
Listen, this is old John Grimes’,
He reads before he goes to bed;
He reads a chapter of the Book
Of Books, to comfort his old wife,
Happily in this far Scotch nook,
Faith still trims the lamp of life.
But there our own high windows shine,
The evening fire is lit we see,
Wayfaring shoes let us resign,
And you will sing that hymn to me.
– William Bell Scott
how often were we wrapped in coolness on the floor
the smell of turpentine and fire
the canvases white to our empty eyes
and the moon a smile somewhere outside
out of sight
days decompose like seasons beyond the panes
leaves of rain, a face, a cloud, this poem
I wanted to leave my imprint on you
to brand you with the flaming hour
of being alone
no fire sings as clear
as the silver ashes of your movements
and your melancholy body
I wanted to draw that sadness from you
so that you might be revealed
the way a city opens
on a bright landscape
filled with pigeons and the fire of trees
and silver crows also out of sight in the night
and the moon a mouth that one can ignite
and then I wished that you could laugh
and your body bitter
my hands of porcelain on your hips
your breath such a dark-dark pain
a sword at my ear
how often were we here
where only silver shadows stir
only through you I had to deny myself
through you alone I knew I had no harbor
in a burning sea
– Breyton Breytonbach
this is the season when the dreamer,
swathed in dark remembrances
like an infant swaddled in the weavings of night,
often sobs in his sleep
this is the season when he finds a copper coin
under stripped trees in the lane,
the bankrupt moon, a rusted leaf,
the barking dog,
and precipitously the heart tumbles
and memory brings back
widgeons in the reed-bush,
waves combed in tresses on the beach,
your beautiful hips
a violin with a scroll at heaven’s door
for the tongue to enter your bliss
awareness is a boat nosing for the open sea
and life a body slithering over its side,
sinking like a sob
to wash up tomorrow among rocks
for the postmortem opening-up
in search of meaning
when the moon is full of rot
I shall go to Santiago de Cuba
I shall go to Santiago
in a carriage of black water
this is the season when church bells peal
and snow must slip over towers and spires and peaks
silence shroud the hollows of the city
like cold come from heaven
Estos dias, iguales a otros dias de otros años:
these days exactly like the days of earlier years
with people exactly like those of then
with the same hours and the dead
with similar desires
and the old-old restlessness of before
you’re not alone
with the sleepless cold, you come
you go, you don’t know where
put on angel wings, love,
and I’ll suck my tongue
while playing the violin
in a carriage of black water
– Breyton Breytonbach