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Gladys Cromwell: Autumn Communion (Poem)

 

Autumn Communion

This autumn afternoon
My fancy need invent
No untried sacrament.
Man can still commune
With Beauty as of old:
The tree, the wind’s lyre,
The whirling dust, the fire—
In these my faith is told.

Beauty warms us all;
When horizons crimson burn,
We hold heaven’s cup in turn.
The dry leaves gleaming fall,
Crumbs of mystical bread;
My dole of Beauty I break,
Love to my lips I take,
And fear is quieted.

The symbols of old are made new:
I watch the reeds and the rushes,
The spruce trees dip their brushes
In the mountain’s dusky blue;
The sky is deep like a pool;
A fragrance the wind brings over
Is warm like hidden clover,
Though the wind itself is cool.

Across the air, between
The stems and the grey things,
Sunlight a trellis flings.
In quietude I lean:
I hear the lifting zephyr
Soft and shy and wild;
And I feel earth gentle and mild
Like the eyes of a velvet heifer.

Love scatters and love disperses.
Lightly the orchards dance
In a lovely radiance.
Down sloping terraces
They toss their mellow fruits.
The rhythmic wind is sowing,
Softly the floods are flowing
Between the twisted roots.

What Beauty need I own
When the symbol satisfies?
I follow services
Of tree and cloud and stone.
Color floods the world;
I am swayed by sympathy;
Love is a litany
In leaf and cloud unfurled.

Gladys Cromwell
(1885-1919)
Autumn Communion

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