Through all the weary, hot midsummer time,
My heart has struggled with its awful grief.
And I have waited for these autumn days,
Thinking the cooling winds would bring relief.
For I remembered how I loved them once,
When all my life was full of melody.
And I have looked and longed for their return,
Nor thought but they would seem the same, to me.
The fiery summer burned itself away,
And from the hills, the golden autumn time
Looks down and smiles. The fields are tinged with brown-
The birds are talking of another clime.
The forest trees are dyed in gorgeous hues,
And weary ones have sought an earthy tomb.
But still the pain tugs fiercely at my heart-
And still my life is wrapped in awful gloom.
The winds I thought would cool my fevered brow,
Are bleak, and dreary; and they bear no balm.
The sounds I thought would soothe my throbbing brain,
Are grating discords; and they can not calm
This inward tempest. Still it rages on.
My soul is tost upon a troubled sea,
I find no pleasure in the olden joys-
The autumn is not as it used to be.
I hear the children shouting at their play!
Their hearts are happy, and they know not pain.
To them the day brings sunlight, and no shade.
And yet I would not be a child again.
For surely as the night succeeds the day,
So surely will their mirth turn into tears.
And I would not return to happy hours,
If I must live again these weary years.
I would walk on, and leave it all behind:
will walk on; and when my feet grow sore,
The boatman waits-his sails are all unfurled-
He waits to row me to a fairer shore.
My tired limbs shall rest on beds of down,
My tears shall all be wiped by Jesus' hand;
My soul shall know the peace it long hath sought-
A peace too wonderful to understand.
About this poem
"An Autumn Reverie" was published in Ella Wheeler Wilcox's "Shells" (Hauser & Storey, 1873).
About Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Ella Wheeler Wilcox was born in Johnstown, Wis., in 1850. She wrote numerous collections of poetry, including "Poems of Reflection" (1905). She died in Connecticut in 1919.
The Academy of American Poets is a nonprofit, mission-driven organization, whose aim is to make poetry available to a wider audience. Email The Academy at poem-a-day[at]poets.org.
This poem is in the public domain. Distributed by King Features Syndicate