(13th October 1961 / Accra, GHANA)

In The Woods

I walked alone in depths of autumn woods;
The ruthless winds had left the maple bare
The fern was withered, and the sweetbrier's breath
No longer gave its fragrance to the air.

The barberry strung its coral beads no more;
The thistle-down on gauzy wings had flown;
And myriad leaves, on which the Summer wrote
Her blushing farewells, at my feet were strown.

A loneliness pervaded every spot;
A gloom of which my musing soul partook;
All Nature mourns, I said; November wild
Hath torn the fairest pages from her book.

But suddenly a wild bird overhead
Poured forth a note so strangely clear and sweet,
It seemed to bring me back the skies of May,
And wake the sleeping violets at my feet.

Then long I pondered o'er the poet's words,
' The loss of beauty is not always loss,'
Till like the voice of love they soothed my pain,
And gave me strength to bear again my cross.

O murmuring heart! thy pleasures may decay,
Thy faith grow cold, thy golden dreams take wing;
Still in the realm of faded youth and joy,
Heaven kindly leaves some bird of hope to sing.

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