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The Autumn Sheaf

by Elizabeth Drew Stoddard, 1895

Still I remember only autumn days,
  When golden leaves were floating in the air,
And reddening oaks stood sombre in the haze,
  Till sunset struck them with its redder glare,

And faded, leaving me by wood and field
  In fragrant dew, and fragrant velvet mould,
To wait among the shades of night concealed,
  And learn that story which but once is told.

Though many seasons of the falling leaves
  I watched my failing hopes, and watched their fall;
In memory they are gathered now like sheaves,
So withered that a touch would scatter all.

Dead leaves, and dust more dead, to fall apart,
  Leaves spreading once in arches over me,
And dust enclosing once a loving heart,
  Still I am happy with youth's mystery.

It cannot be unbound,—my autumn sheaf;
  So let it stand, the ruin of my past;
Returning autumn brings the old belief,
  Its mystery all its own, and it will last.

Published in Poems

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