Autumn’s Warnings

SOFT voices of the woods, that make
The summer air a harmony,
Winged whispers through the leaves where wake
Long wind-wafts dying in a sigh,
Replies of birds from brake to brake,
Plash of the runnel on its stones,
Soft voices, sweet for summer's sake,
There is a word in all your tones,
A word that not till now ye spake,
'Goodbye, goodbye.'

And yet, see, dearest, overhead
The branches bar a sultry sky,
No earliest fleck of tanned or red
'Mid all the leafage far and nigh,
And, with their serried curves outspread,
The fresh green fern-fronds know no frost.
Nought gone; but still some grace is dead:
Nought changed; but still some hope is lost:
Listen, and every voice has said
'Goodbye, goodbye.'

We shall not see the summer wane,
But, with a start of memory,
When the long chills have come again,
Awake and know that it did die:
So slowest loss is sudden pain;
We have not known till all is o'er;
'Tis summer till the autumn's rain.
Yet has there stolen long before
That sadness through some sweetest strain
'Goodbye, goodbye.'

Ah, love, hear all the thought that grew;
Mock it away; I'll mock it, I:
Summer, and I sit here with you,
Your great eyes smiling tenderly,
Your silence wooing me to woo,
A meaning in your lightest word
As though love made it something new—
And what if all the while I heard
The autumn whisper sighing through
'Goodbye, goodbye'?

by Augusta Davies Webster

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