IN twilights of the waning year,
When days abridge their summer noise,
The cricket hushes us to hear
His brooding o’er the season’s joys.
His note is Nature’s retrospect,
That solaces her mind in change;
A hundred days of flowers are wrecked
And stranded on its tender range.
Broad dawns that stirred the lids of earth,
First breaths of the unsullied days,
Long hours whose only toil was mirth,
Whose sails we set for western bays,
And shook our sunset colors out
As signals to the evening star
That in the offing heat about
To show us reefs of dusk afar;
The summer nests that throbbed to keep
A blitheness in the silent trees
All night, to pipe us from our sleep, —
The cricket broods and thinks of these.
From empty nests the carols drop
To soft regret among the grass;
And stems no longer flame atop
To light short afternoons that pass.
My summer lays a pondering ear
Along the ground, and listens well,
As all the footsteps of the year
Upon the edge of distance swell;
They fade, they shrink to this thin tone,
On every trembling nerve it plays:
Of roses plucked, of meadows mown
It tells, of all my perfect days:
Of moments tuned by new delight,
Of thoughts that soared upon their wing
And balanced sung my secret plight, —
That whole surprise of blossoming;
Those bumpers of a dauntless vein,
Poured often as my June came near
To pledge to Nature’s new refrain:
That kiss — warm solstice of my year!
John Weiss.