Loren Eiseley

Nocturne for Autumn’s Ending

From Prairie Schooner.

Fireflies’ green lanterns down this old green wall
Are going out. The moon is warped and red.
Now in the midnight dew the rabbit fed
Lopes homeward and the frost beings to crawl
On summer honey. Stealthy burglars fall
Upon the bee’s blunt bulging barrels; unheard
A cricket files his keys—it seems the word
Has gone about. This is the last of all.
It is the time when things have ceased to strive,
When worms creep downward in their narrow holes,
When hearts are northernmost and if survive
Must do so by themselves like furtive moles.
The tang of bark and bitter roots, like sin,
Remain to comfort us now winter’s in.

Reprinted from Prairie Schooner Vol III No 4 (Fall 1929) by permission of University of Nebraska Press. Copyright 1929 by the Wordsmiths of Sigma Upsilon.