From the Green Book of the Bards

by Bliss Carman


 

AT THE YELLOW OF THE LEAF


 

The falling leaf is at the door;
The autumn wind is on the hill;
Footsteps I have heard before
Loiter at my cabin sill.

Full of crimson and of gold

5

Is the morning in the leaves;
And a stillness pure and cold
Hangs about the frosty eaves.

The mysterious autumn haze
Steals across the blue ravine,

10

Like an Indian ghost that strays
Through his olden lost demesne.

Now the goldenrod invades
Every clearing in the hills;
The dry glow of August fades,

15

And the lonely cricket shrills.

Yes, by every trace and sign
The good roving days are here.
Mountain peak and river line
Float the scarlet of the year.

20


Lovelier than ever now
Is the world I love so well.
Running water, waving bough,
And the bright wind's magic spell

Rouse the taint of migrant blood

25

With the fever of the road,—
Impulse older than the flood
Lurking in its last abode.

Did I once pursue your way,
Little brothers of the air,

30

Following the vernal ray?
Did I learn my roving there?

Was it on your long spring rides,
Little brothers of the sea,
In the dim and peopled tides,

35

That I learned this vagrancy?

Now the yellow of the leaf
Bids away by hill and plain,
I shall say good-bye to grief,
Wayfellow with joy again.

40


The glamour of the open door
Is on me, and I would be gone,—
Speak with truth or speak no more,
House with beauty or with none.

Great and splendid, near and far,

45

Lies the province of desire;
Love the only silver star
Its discoverers require.

I shall lack nor tent nor food,
Nor companion in the way,

50

For the kindly solitude
Will provide for me to-day.

Few enough have been my needs;
Fewer now they are to be;
Where the faintest follow leads,

55

There is heart's content for me.

Leave the bread upon the board;
Leave the book beside the chair;
With the murmur of the ford,
Light of spirit I shall fare.

60

Leave the latch-string in the door,
And the pile of logs to burn;
Others may be here before
I have leisure to return.