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October Poems

Table of Contents

  1. Maple Leaves by Thomas Bailey Aldrich
  2. October's Party by George Cooper
  3. October by Robert Frost
  4. October Weather by Mabel Douglas Essay
  5. In October by Bliss Carman
  6. Late October by Sylvester Baxter
  7. October by Madison Cawein
  8. October by Madison Cawein
  9. October by John Jay Chapman
  10. October by Laurence Dunbar
  11. In October by John Burroughs
  12. October by John B. Tabb
  13. A Song for October by T.A. Daly
  14. October by William Cullen Bryant
  15. October by Paul Hamilton Hayne
  16. October by Rebecca Hey
  17. October by John Charles McNeill
  18. October by Lottie Brown Allen
  19. October's Call by Ed Blair
  20. October by Ada A. Mosher
  21. October Night by Ada A. Mosher

  1. Maple Leaves

    by Thomas Bailey Aldrich

    October turned my maple's leaves to gold;
    The most are gone now; here and there one lingers:
    Soon these will slip from out the twigs' weak hold,
    Like coins between a dying miser's fingers.

  2. October's Party

    by George Cooper

    October gave a party;
    The leaves by hundreds came—
    The Chestnuts, Oaks, and Maples,
    And leaves of every name.
    The Sunshine spread a carpet,
    And everything was grand,
    Miss Weather led the dancing,
    Professor Wind the band.

    The Chestnuts came in yellow,
    The Oaks in crimson dressed;
    The lovely Misses Maple
    In scarlet looked their best;
    All balanced to their partners,
    And gaily fluttered by;
    The sight was like a rainbow
    New fallen from the sky.

    Then, in the rustic hollow,
    At hide-and-seek they played,
    The party closed at sundown,
    And everybody stayed.
    Professor Wind played louder;
    They flew along the ground;
    And then the party ended
    In jolly "hands around."

  3. October

    Autumn Landscape
    by William Louis Sonntag
    by Robert Frost

    O hushed October morning mild,
    Thy leaves have ripened to the fall;
    Tomorrow’s wind, if it be wild,
    Should waste them all.
    The crows above the forest call;
    Tomorrow they may form and go.

    O hushed October morning mild,
    Begin the hours of this day slow.
    Make the day seem to us less brief.
    Hearts not averse to being beguiled,
    Beguile us in the way you know.
    Release one leaf at break of day;
    At noon release another leaf;
    One from our trees, one far away.
    Retard the sun with gentle mist;
    Enchant the land with amethyst.
    Slow, slow!
    For the grapes’ sake, if they were all,
    Whose leaves already are burnt with frost,
    Whose clustered fruit must else be lost—
    For the grapes’ sake along the wall.

  4. October Weather

    by Mabel Douglas Essay

    There's a certain eerie sadness
    Tempered with exultant gladness
    In October weather.
    Vanished is June's fertile sweetness,
    July's mellow rare completeness;
    August fleeing with September
    Leaves a beauty earth remembers
    In October weather.

    The long rows of china aster
    Stiffly face a sure disaster,
    The vine grasped by the frost's keen fingers
    Shrivels where it deserted lingers;
    Summer suns are mirrored brightly
    From the trees the frosts touch lightly
    In October weather.
    There's the courage of the mountains
    And the daring of the rivers,
    There's the wisdom of the meadows
    Autumn holds and guards forever,
    And they give a ripened gladness
    Tinctured with a shadowy sadness
    To October weather.

  5. In October

    by Bliss Carman

    Now come the rosy dogwoods,
    The golden tulip-tree,
    And the scarlet yellow maple,
    To make a day for me.

    The ash-trees on the ridges,
    The alders in the swamp,
    Put on their red and purple
    To join the autumn pomp.

    The woodbine hangs her crimson
    Along the pasture wall,
    And all the bannered sumacs
    Have heard the frosty call.

    Who then so dead to valor
    As not to raise a cheer,
    When all the woods are marching
    In triumph of the year?

  6. Late October

    by Sylvester Baxter

    Out of my window I look down
    Into the yard of my neighbor,
    My friend, the parish priest across the way,
    And this is the picture I see:
    A glowing maple rising like a fountain
    Out of the emerald lawn rimmed by a close-clipped hedge
    Of darker green.

    All gray the sky is, but the maple
    Gleams like spray in sunlight.
    Out of its blazing mass
    The leaves are showering
    Like the sparks that fly when a smouldering fire is stirred.
    They lie in drifts upon the grassy verdure
    Like lightly fallen snow of gold;
    They powder the sombre green of the hedge
    As gilded confetti might powder the head
    Of some strangely dark-haired beauty.

  7. October

    by Madison Cawein

    Long hosts of sunlight, and the bright wind blows
    A tourney-trumpet on the listed hill;
    Past is the splendour of the royal rose
    And duchess daffodil.

    Crowned queen of beauty, in the garden's space,
    Strong daughter of a bitter race and bold,
    A ragged beggar with a lovely face,
    Reigns the sad marigold.

    And I have sought June's butterfly for days,
    To find it—like a coreopsis bloom—
    Amber and seal, rain-murdered 'neath the blaze
    Of this sunflower's plume.

    Here drones the bee; and there sky-daring wings
    Voyage blue gulfs of heaven; the last song
    The red-bird flings me as adieu, still rings
    Upon yon pear-tree's prong.

    No angry sunset brims with rubier red
    The bowl of heaven than the days, indeed,
    Pour in each blossom of this salvia-bed,
    Where each leaf seems to bleed.

    And where the wood-gnats dance, like some slight mist,
    Above the efforts of the weedy stream,
    The girl, October, tired of the tryst,
    Dreams a diviner dream.

    One foot just dipping the caressing wave,
    One knee at languid angle; locks that drown
    Hands nut-stained; hazel-eyed, she lies, and grave,
    Watching the leaves drift down.

  8. October

    by Madison Cawein

    I oft have met her slowly wandering
    Beside a leafy stream, her locks blown wild,
    Her cheeks a hectic flush, more fair than Spring,
    As if on her the sumach copse had smiled.
    Or I have seen her sitting, tall and brown,—
    Her gentle eyes with foolish weeping dim,—
    Beneath a twisted oak from whose red leaves
    She wound great drowsy wreaths and east them down;
    The west-wind in her hair, that made it swim
    Far out behind, deep as the rustling sheaves.

    Or in the hill-lands I have often seen
    The marvel of her passage; glimpses faint
    Of glimmering woods that glanced the hills between,
    Like Indian faces, fierce with forest paint.
    Or I have met her 'twixt two beechen hills,
    Within a dingled valley near a fall,
    Held in her nut-brown hand one cardinal flower;
    Or wading dimly where the leaf-dammed rills
    Went babbling through the wildwood's arrased hall,
    Where burned the beech and maples glared their power.

    Or I have met her by some ruined mill,
    Where trailed the crimson creeper, serpentine,
    On fallen leaves that stirred and rustled chill,
    And watched her swinging in the wild-grape vine.
    While Beauty, sad among the vales and mountains,
    More sad than death, or all that death can teach,
    Dreamed of decay and stretched appealing arms,
    Where splashed the murmur of the forest's fountains; With all her loveliness did she beseech,
    And all the sorrow of her wildwood charms.

    Once only in a hollow, girt with trees,
    A-dream amid wild asters filled with rain,
    I glimpsed her cheeks red-berried by the breeze,
    In her dark eyes the night's sidereal stain.
    And once upon an orchard's tangled path,
    Where all the golden-rod had turned to brown,
    Where russets rolled and leaves were sweet of breath,
    I have beheld her 'mid her aftermath
    Of blossoms standing, in her gypsy gown,
    Within her gaze the deeps of life and death.

  9. October

    by John Jay Chapman

    Clear as the dew it kindles on the spray
    Across the shadows of each shelving lawn,
    The rising sun, with low and level ray
    Scatters the cold, gray phantoms of the dawn.
    Like ghosts they flee, like dreams expire
    Within the elemental fire
    Of our first calm October day.

    A day all zenith; the enclosing air,
    Like to the lens of a vast telescope,
    Shows the enameled globe, which now doth wear
    Its gayest motley; every jutting slope
    And quiet spire appears both far and near,
    Seen through the splendor of the atmosphere.

    Something Elysian,—a faint tang of joy,—
    Breathes from the moisture of the open field,
    Recalling Spring, yet Spring with no alloy
    Of heartache, such as hovers on the view
    Of things in promise. Here is harvest-yield;
    Old Earth hath done her best and can no further do.

    The yellowing pages of Earth's ledger lie,
    In new-cropped acres, open to the sky;
    A text that all may understand,
    With margins where wild vines expand
    In crimson revelry.

    Beyond the valley lies a ledge
    Of rocky pasture and a tier
    Of hemlock and of juniper;
    And close to the embattled edge,—
    Their roots embedded in the stony stairs,—
    The agèd cedars flaunt their burning wares.

    Like banners in a gallery,
    They hang above the bright ravine,
    Where from the mountains to the sea
    The farms and villages are seen,
    All clad in twinkling sheen.

    Above our heads the mountain bleak
    Bears his cold summit to the view,
    As one in scorn of earthly mists,
    Who, in his gesture, seems to seek
    The silent depths of the transparent blue
    Where nought save light exists.
    There penetrates
    Nor sight nor mutter from the world below,
    Nor sound of joy or woe;
    For that clear realm is deaf to man's debates.
    There nought save Contemplation ever came;
    For reason is extinguished by the glow,
    And passion dies within its parent flame.

    Rays of religion, shafts of power,
    From that eternal upper day
    Descend on man, the creature of an hour,
    And whirl him as a leaf is whirled away.
    Born to phantasmal contest, he survives
    A moment merely; yet the fray,
    The whirlwind, seizes other lives,
    And, raging like a mountain fire,
    Burns on with inextinguishable ire.

    Here, here, from this ærial zone
    Flows all the force the world has known,
    All insight and all sight,
    The substance of all just resolves,
    Solid and pure;
    The rest is lightning, here is light:
    And when the varied earth dissolves,
    This shall endure.

    But see! above the sinking sun
    The angel of the west
    Has set his star against the mountain's breast:
    October's day is done.
    The shadows mount, the twilight clear
    Shows all of Autumn's mellow husk,
    Where one belated teamster in the dusk
    Circles the plain, like a dark charioteer
    Who scatters secretly the gleaming seeds,
    And drives his mystic steeds
    Before the tread of the pursuing year.

  10. October

    by Laurence Dunbar

    October is the treasurer of the year,
    And all the months pay bounty to her store;
    The fields and orchards still their tribute bear,
    And fill her brimming coffers more and more.
    But she, with youthful lavishness,
    Spends all her wealth in gaudy dress,
    And decks herself in garments bold
    Of scarlet, purple, red, and gold.

    She heedeth not how swift the hours fly,
    But smiles and sings her happy life along;
    She only sees above a shining sky;
    She only hears the breezes' voice in song.
    Her garments trail the woodlands through,
    And gather pearls of early dew
    That sparkle, till the roguish Sun
    Creeps up and steals them every one.

    But what cares she that jewels should be lost,
    When all of Nature's bounteous wealth is hers?
    Though princely fortunes may have been their cost,
    Not one regret her calm demeanor stirs.
    Whole-hearted, happy, careless, free,
    She lives her life out joyously,
    Nor cares when Frost stalks o'er her way
    And turns her auburn locks to gray.

  11. In October

    by John Burroughs

    Now comes the sunset of the verdant year,
    Chemic fires, still and slow,
    Burn in the leaves, till trees and groves appear
    Dipped in the sunset's glow.

    Through many-stained windows of the wood
    The day sends down its beams,
    Till all the acorn-punctured solitude
    Of sunshine softly dreams.

    I take my way where sentry cedars stand
    Along the bushy lane,
    And whitethroats stir and call on every hand,
    Or lift their wavering strain;

    The hazel-bush holds up its crinkled gold
    And scents the loit'ring breeze —
    A nuptial wreath amid its leafage old
    That laughs at frost's decrees.

    A purple bloom is creeping o'er the ash —
    Dull wine against the day,
    While dusky cedars wear a crimson sash
    Of woodbine's kindled spray.

    I see the stolid oak tree's smould'ring fire
    Sullen against emerald rye;
    And yonder sugar maple's wild desire
    To match the sunset sky.

    On hedge and tree the bittersweet has hung
    Its fruit that looks a flower;
    While alder spray with coral berries strung
    Is part of autumn's dower.

    The plaintive calls of bluebirds fill the air,
    Wand'ring voices in the morn;
    The ruby kinglet, flitting here and there,
    Winds again his elfin horn.

    Now Downy shyly drills his winter cell,
    His white chips strew the ground;
    While squirrels bark from hill or acorned dell—
    A true autumnal sound.

    I hear the feathered thunder of the grouse
    Soft rolling through the wood,
    Or pause to note where hurrying mole or mouse
    Just stirs the solitude.

    Anon the furtive flock-call of the quail
    Comes up from weedy fields;
    Afar the mellow thud of lonely flail
    Its homely music yields.

    Behold the orchards piled with painted spheres
    New plucked from bending trees;
    And bronzèd huskers tossing golden ears
    In genial sun and breeze.

    Once more the tranquil days brood o'er the hills,
    And soothe earth's toiling breast;
    A benediction all the landscape fills
    That breathes of peace and rest

  12. October

    by John B. Tabb

    Behold, the fleeting swallow
    Forsakes the frosty air;
    And leaves, alert to follow,
    Are falling everywhere,
    Like wounded birds, too weak
    A distant clime to seek.

    And soon, with silent pinions,
    The fledglings of the North
    From winter's wild dominions
    Shall drift, aftrighted, forth,
    And, phantom-like, anon
    Pursue the phantoms gone.

  13. A Song for October

    by T.A. Daly

    Fruitful October! so fair and calm
    Singing of God and his charity,
    Every note of thy joyous psalm
    Chords of my heart give back to thee.
    Joy for the riches thy bounty yields
    Over the breadth of our smiling fields!
    Out of the months that have gone before,
    Gathering tribute from this thy store,
    E'en from the torpid December moon,
    From the vernal rains and the heats of June,
    All that was good thou hast drawn and brought.
    Nothing a loss;
    E'en from the dross,

    Alchemist marvellous, thou hast wrought
    Misted gold for thy noon's delights,
    Silver of frost for thy twinkling nights.
    Blest be thy blessing, all thy beauty now
    Glows as a diadem on thy brow,
    So, let me sing to thee,
    So, let me bring to thee
    Praise of the queen of my soul, for she,
    Bountiful bringer of joys to me,
    Wearing thy glory, is kin to thee.
    How hath she wrought with the passing years?
    All of their pleasures and pains and tears,
    All their rose hopes and their pallid fears,
    Through her sweet being have issued forth
    Fused into treasure of priceless worth.
    Look on the fruits of her alchemy,
    Lisping their music around her knee.
    Muse on the splendor of her sweet face,
    Motherly wisdom and maiden grace.
    Gold of your noon time is in her hair;
    Aye, and your silver of frost is there.
    Tell her, October, O, who so fair?
    Not even thou
    Weareth a brow
    Fuller of beauty or freer of care.
    O for the guerdon of quiet bliss,
    For the yet warm heart and the cool sweet kiss
    Of her perfect loving; for this, for this,
    Fruitful October, so fair and calm,
    Singing of God and His charity,
    Every note of thy joyous psalm
    Chords of my heart give back to thee!

  14. October

    by William Cullen Bryant

    Ay, thou art welcome, heaven's delicious breath!
    When woods begin to wear the crimson leaf,
    And suns grow meek, and the meek suns grow brief
    And the year smiles as it draws near its death.
    Wind of the sunny south! oh, still delay
    In the gay woods and in the golden air,
    Like to a good old age released from care,
    Journeying, in long serenity, away.
    In such a bright, late quiet, would that I
    Might wear out life like thee, 'mid bowers and brooks
    And dearer yet, the sunshine of kind looks,
    And music of kind voices ever nigh;
    And when my last sand twinkled in the glass,
    Pass silently from men, as thou dost pass.

  15. October

    by Paul Hamilton Hayne

    The passionate summer's dead! the sky's aglow
    With roseate flushes of matured desire,
    The winds at eve are musical and low,
    As sweeping chords of a lamenting lyre,
    Far up among the pillared clouds of fire,
    Whose pomp of st range procession upward rolls,
    With gorgeous blazonry of pictured scrolls,
    To celebrate the summer's past renown;
    Ah, me! how regally the heavens look down,
    O'ershadowing beautiful autumnal woods
    And harvest fields with hoarded increase brown,
    And deep-toned majesty of golden floods,
    That raise their solemn dirges to the sky,
    To swell the purple pomp that floateth by.

  16. October

    by Rebecca Hey

    Autumn! a touching monitress art thou!
    When, like a widow, thou dost throw aside
    Thy idle gauds, thy glance of conscious pride,
    And, kerchief'd in dim clouds, dost meekly throw
    A faded garland round thy sadden'd brow.
    I love to cope thee in thy chasten'd mood,
    For earnestly, yet still in tones subdued,
    Thou breathest truths befitting me to know:
    And all things aid thy sober teaching well;
    The mournful music of the falling leaves
    Goes to the heart emphatic as a knell;
    And, for the reaper's song amid the sheaves,
    Yon robin, on the almost leafless spray,
    Pours wildly sweet his solitary lay.

  17. October

    by John Charles McNeill

    The thought of old, dear things is in thine eyes,
    O, month of memories!
    Musing on days thine heart hath sorrow of,
    Old joy, dead hope, dear love,

    I see thee stand where all thy sisters meet
    To cast down at thy feet
    The garnered largess of the fruitful year,
    And on thy cheek a tear.

    Thy glory flames in every blade and leaf
    To blind the eyes of grief;
    Thy vineyards and thine orchards bend with fruit
    That sorrow may be mute;

    A hectic splendor lights thy days to sleep,
    Ere the gray dusk may creep
    Sober and sad along thy dusty ways,
    Like a lone nun, who prays;

    High and faint-heard thy passing migrant calls;
    Thy lazy lizard sprawls
    On his gray stone, and many slow winds creep
    About thy hedge, asleep;

    The sun swings farther toward his love, the south,
    To kiss her glowing mouth;
    And Death, who steals among thy purpling bowers,
    Is deeply hid in flowers.

    Would that thy streams were Lethe, and might flow
    Where lotus blossoms blow,
    And all the sweets wherewith thy riches bless
    Might hold no bitterness!

    Would, in thy beauty, we might all forget
    Dead days and old regret,
    And through thy realm might fare us forth to roam,
    Having no thought for home!

    And yet I feel, beneath thy queen's attire,
    Woven of blood and fire,
    Beneath the golden glory of thy charm
    Thy mother heart beats warm,

    And if, mayhap, a wandering child of thee,
    Weary of land and sea,
    Should turn him homeward from his dreamer's quest
    To sob upon thy breast,

    Thine arm would fold him tenderly, to prove
    How thine eyes brimmed with love,
    And thy dear hand, with all a mother's care,
    Would rest upon his hair.

  18. October

    by Lottie Brown Allen

    O, golden days! O, quiet, peaceful days!
    October’s winsome voice we now can hear,
    While all around, her magic wand she plays,
    To consummate the crowning of the year.

    Behold her ’mid a wealth of golden sheaves,
    Most glorious month of all the year, she stands,
    Upon her brow a wreath of crimson leaves,
    While purple clusters fill her outstretched hands.

    How could we know that when the flower-strewn spring
    And all the happy summer days were past,
    October would this golden mantle fling
    To warm our hearts e’er comes the winter’s blast.

    Then linger on, fair days of golden light,
    And grant to leave in us an after glow,
    That shall shine on throughout the winter night,
    That shall not pale before the winter snow.

  19. October's Call

    by Ed Blair

    Do you ever in the fall,
    Hear the sighing woodland's call,
    When the frosts of autumn turn the leaves to brown?
    Do you ever feel a thrill,
    Of delight in autumn's chill,
    When the deep, dark shades of evening settle down?

    Do you ever like to be,
    Like the aborigine,
    In a tent down in the woodland dark and wild,
    Where the Hoot Owls with delight,
    Chill with terror and affright,
    Those who in their lonely haunts may be beguiled?

    Do you love the camp fire's light,
    Sputtering, sparkling, burning bright,
    Then receding as the dying of the day?
    Do you love the lullabies,
    Of the zephyrs as they rise,
    And among the forest branches softly play?

    Come, then, 'tis October calling,
    And the ripened nuts are falling,
    And we'll build a booming camp fire near the tent,
    For the year is not complete,
    If we miss October's treat.
    'Tis the sweetest hour the year has sent.

  20. October

    by Ada A. Mosher

    Dead, the last scion of the Rose's race,
    The generation of the Summer, dead!
    And where its watch-fires blazed behold instead
    The Invader's glorious camps usurp the place.

    Strange, daring colors with wild foreign grace,
    Tawn India's yellow and Arabia's red
    Blend into brown of Afric overhead
    And swathe their towering tents from brow to base.

    We look to sudden meet them face to face,
    These stranger-warriors who possess the land.
    We hear the Wind-hounds baying to the chase,
    And streaming from the hills on every hand
    In wild barbaric beauty do we trace
    Their multi-colored signals of command.

  21. October Night

    by Ada A. Mosher

    In breathless awe of this strange midnight-noon
    The mute woods stand and stare bewildered o'er:
    Heaped at their feet lie glittering Louis d'or;
    Piled high the golden scudo and doubloon,

    The hoarded earnings of their youth of June,
    Are these surprised of bandit-meteor?
    How pale the face yon spectral Sycamore
    Lifts, tremulously, to the midnight moon!