Autumn in the Garden
When the frosty kiss of Autumn in the dark
Makes its mark
On the flowers, and the misty morning grieves
Over fallen leaves;
Then my olden garden, where the golden soil
Through the toil
Of a hundred years is mellow, rich, and deep,
Whispers in its sleep.
‘Mid the crumpled beds of marigold and phlox,
Where the box
Borders with its glossy green the ancient walks,
There’s a voice that talks
Of the human hopes that bloomed and withered here
Year by year,–
Dreams of joy, that brightened all the labouring hours,
Fading as the flowers.
Yet the whispered story does not deepen grief;
For the loneliness of sorrow seems to flow
From the Long-Ago,
When I think of other lives that learned, like mine,
And remember that the sadness of the fall
Comes alike to all.
What regrets, what longings for the lost were theirs!
And what prayers
For the silent strength that nerves us to endure
Things we cannot cure!
Pacing up and down the garden where they paced,
I have traced
All their well-worn paths of patience, till I find
Comfort in my mind.
Faint and far away their ancient griefs appear:
Yet how near
Is the tender voice, the careworn, kindly face,
Of the human race!
Let us walk together in the garden, dearest heart,
They who know the sorrows other lives have known
Never walk alone.
Henry Van Dyke