The Autumn Walk by Alexander Anderson

I walk through, the golden autumn wood
When the leaves are in their decay:
And my heart leaps into its solemn mood
As they wither and drop away.

For I think that this life of ours is a tree,
And the leaves are each fresh green hope,
That we keep like the dream of the good to be
For the blossoms that yet will ope.

And I know that the years are the slow sure frost
That will nip with a bitter breath
The sweet green buds, till their bloom be lost
In a shadow like that of death.

Then woe unto him that, when thus bereft,
And the drear cold gust hath pas’d,
Looks within and can see no leaflet left
That might gladden his eyes at last.

What comfort will lie in the clasped hands,
In the look of doubt and woe,
While the heart in its own deep shadow stands
Looking down at its leaves below?

Ah, no! like the tree that I stand beneath,
That, though wither’d, and black, and bare,
Still keeps one leaf that hath stood the breath
Of the cold and unkindly air:

May I thus so stand when my heart pours down
Its leaves all sear’d and dry,
Keeping still one leaf though the rest be flown,
And that leaf my hope on high.

From: Anderson, Alexander, A Song of Labour, and Other Poems, 1873, The Advertiser: Dundee, p. 19.
(https://archive.org/stream/songoflabourothe00andeiala#page/18/mode/2up)

Date: 1873

By: Alexander Anderson (1845-1909)

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