An Autumn Landscape

Alfred B. Street

A slope of upland, shorn by nibbling sheep
To a rich carpet, woven of short grass
And tiny clover, upward leads my steps
By the seamed pathway, and my roving eye
Drinks in the vassal landscape. Far and wide
Nature is smiling in her loveliness.
Masses of woods, green strips of fields, ravines
Shown by their outlines drawn against the hills,
Chimneys and roofs, trees, single and in groups,
Bright curves of brooks, and vanishing mountaintops
Expand upon my sight. October’s brush
The scene has colored; not with those broad hues
Mixed in his later palette by the frost,
And dashed upon the picture till the eye
Aches with the varied splendor, but in tints
Left by light scattered touches. Overhead
There shines a blending of cloud, haze, and sky
A silvery sheet with spaces of soft blue;
A trembling veil of gauze is stretched athwart
The shadowy hill-sides and dark forest-flanks;
A soothing quiet broods upon the air,
And the faint sunshine winks with drowsiness.
Far sounds melt mellow on the ear: the bark—
The bleat—the tinkle—whistle—blast of horn—
The rattle of the wagon-wheel—the low—
The fowler’s shot—the twitter of the bird,
And even the hum of converse from the road.
The grass, with its low insect-tones, appears
As murmuring in its sleep. This butterfly
Seems as if loath to stir, so lazily
It flutters by. In fitful starts and stops
The locust sings. The grasshopper breaks out
In brief harsh strains amid its pausing chirps;
The beetle, glistening in its sable mail,
Slow climbs the clover-tops, and even the ant
Darts round less eagerly.

What difference marks
The scene from yester-noontide. Then the sky
Showed such rich, tender blue, it seemed as if
‘T would melt before the sight. The glittering clouds
Floated above, the trees danced glad below
To the fresh wind. The sunshine flashed on steams,
Sparkled on leaves, and laughed on fields and woods.
All, all was life and motion, as all now
Is sleep and quiet. Nature in her change
Varies each day, as in the world of man
She moulds the differing features. Yea, each leaf
Is variant from its fellow. Yet her works
Are blended in a glorious harmony,
For thus God made His earth. Perchance His breath
Was music when he spake it into life,
Adding thereby another instrument
To the innumerable choral orbs
Sending the tribute of their grateful praise
In ceaseless anthems toward His sacred throne.

The Poems of Alfred B. Street, Vol I, pp. 158-160.


Shawangunk Review Volume XXIX Copyright © 2018 by Alfred B. Street. All Rights Reserved.

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