Autumn-by James Farrar

UB soldier truck

Brave roadside ragwort scurried under wind.

The mad meadow grass where mildewed agony

Spews forth crows like ghouls

Clanking the hedge-eddies with fingered spread.

The hedge-dank leaf-fouled lane before me falls

To a dead distance of hills and sky.

Struggle under the writhing wood which a mile back

Roared like a sea. The lustful air,

Harvesting shoals of jaundice from frenzied oak,

Plucks vainly at the slow arc-tracing pines.

Stand in a devil-darkness of leaves and smoke,

Shin-deep. Wild branches scream despair

At the full thunder of the drowning ye

A caravan comes up the lane: old horse cringing

Like a tired insect in its slow grief.

Bleached painted sides, lean leathern gypsy driving:

Old woman and blind son with bitter mouths curled.

Yet the lean one turns with lit face; his voice peal

‘Bound away north. Back in spring, in spring!’

Thralled I watch them away under the hills

In the tunnel of darkness, the dying world.

Break fibre, raise and fly leaf!

Rise, in the wind’s lusting mouth sing –

Soar and shout, to the faint stars away!

I care not that night comes cold or the dead sun

Droops on the earth in the short weak day –

Back in Spring, in Spring!

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