Autumn Dreams

I know the year is dying,
Soon the summer will be dead.
I can trace it in the flying
Of the black crows overhead;
I can hear it in the rustle
Of the dead leaves as I pass,
And the south wind’s plaintive sighing
Through the dry and withered grass.

Ah, ’tis then I love to wander,
Wander idly and alone,
Listening to the solemn music
Of sweet nature’s undertone;
Wrapt in thoughts I cannot utter,
Dreams my tongue cannot express,
Dreams that match the autumn’s sadness
In their longing tenderness.

by Mortimer Crane Brown (1857-1907)


2 Responses to “Autumn Dreams”

  1. It’s happened before: something you posted reminded me of a similar John Denver song:

    Reflections in the water like shadows in my mind
    Speak to me of passing days and nights and passing time
    The falling leaves are whispering, winter’s on its way
    I close my eyes remembering the warmth of yesterday

    It seems a shame to see September swallowed by the wind
    And more than that it’s oh so sad to see the summer’s end
    And though the changing colors are a lovely thing to see
    If it were mine to make a change, I think I’d let it be

    But I don’t remember hearing anybody asking me

    I haven’t heard this in probably 35 years, and have heard it only a few times in my life, but both the melody and the lyrics are indelibly etched into my brain. It is much easier to remember poems if they are set to music. (And more profitable as well: low-key poet Leonard Cohen followed a suggestion to write some music to go with the words, increasing his fame and fortune by orders of magnitude.)

    This is one of 5(!) songs from his “season suite” on the Rocky Mountain High album (which, despite claims by the religious right in the states, is not about drugs). (In case you’re wondering, the fifth is “Late Winter, Early Spring (When Everybody Goes to Mexico”).

    A few days ago on the radio, I heard Vivaldi’s Four Seasons accompanied by a reading of the poems the composer himself wrote to go with the work.

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