African American Poetry (1870-1928): A Digital Anthology

Daniel B. Thompson, "Autumn" (1907)

Daniel B. Thompson, "Autumn" (1907)

    There is a joy
A feeling sweet without alloy,
    That fills the soul
When Autumn skies their beauties roll
    Before the eyes.
With splendors rich in sweet surprise;
    When plants and flow`rs,
Which Summer sun and gentle show'rs
    Had clothed in green,
In brighter garments may be seen,
    In tints and hues,
Which glisten in the morning dews.

    The verdant vine,
Whose tangled tresses neatly line
    The ugly gap
That storm has made in Nature's lap .
    Resplendent shows.
When Autumn's breath upon it blows .
    The shady seat,
Where Comfort sought relief from heat
    In noonday hour,
When Phoebus beamed in greatest pow'r,
    Now sweetly woos
By beauties rich which Autumn strews.
    No dark'ning cloud,
With lightning forked and thunder loud,
    Now brings its fright,
As o'er the sky it rolls in might.
    No drenching rain,
In ruthless torrents poured amain,
    Claims as its spoil
The tardy fruits of farmer's toil.
    When Summer sped,
These dread attendants also fled,
    In deep alarm
At golden Autumn's peaceful charm.

    As Autumn sun
In less'ning circles makes its run,
    The ev'ning shade ,
Of ever length'ning shadows made ,
    Brings sweet increase
To hours when Nature sleeps in peace .
    O'er field and hill,
Whose products feed the busy mill ,
    The silent Night ,
With chilling touches soft and light,
    Distils her dews ,
Whose teeming show'r the turf renews .

    In grove and field ,
The Summer labors find their yield
    In grain and fruits ,
And healthful herbs and tuber roots .
    The grateful swain ,
As slowly creaks the brimming wain
    With Nature's store ,
Deplores his toilsome lot no more ;
    But Autumn's boon
He garners yet , till Harvest Moon,
    With mellow light ,
A soft effulgence pours o'er Night .
   His labors done ,
The farmer takes his dog and gun,
    To bring dismay
To timid hare and squirr'l at play.
    The cautious quail
He now pursues o'er grassy trail
    To bushy close,
Where covey feeds in deep repose .
     With fluttered whir ,
A dozen wings the air bestir ,
    And tempt the shot
That drops its victims to the spot.

    With quickened pace ,
The farmer hies him from the chase
    When daylight fades ,
And ev'ning , settling o'er the glades ,
    Shields from his aim
The feathered tributes it would claim .
    With pouch well filled ,
And aching limbs , fatigued and chilled .
    He greets the spot
Where dimly stands his little cot,
    Before whose fire
He sweetly rests the night entire .

    What sweeter joy ,
When Autumn dullness tends to cloy ,
    To find relief
In sports that bring not Nature grief :
    To range the hills
For treasures rich that Autumn spills .
    Yet bring no harm
To timid forms that take alarm :
    To show as spoil ,
When ev'ning ends the thrilling toil ,
    No lives annoyed .
Nor yet in wantonness destroyed. 

Published in Colored American Magazine, November 1907

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