Monday, 9 December 2019

Poetry Revisited: December by Joel Benton

December

(from John Burroughs: Songs of Nature: 1901)

When the feud of hot and cold
Leaves the autumn woodlands bare;
When the year is getting old.
And flowers are dead, and keen the air;

When the crow has new concern.
And early sounds his raucous note;
And—where the late witch-hazels burn—
The squirrel from a chuckling throat

Tells that one larder's space is filled,
And tilts upon a towering tree;
And, valiant, quick, and keenly thrilled.
Upstarts the tiny chickadee;

When the sun's still shortening arc
Too soon night's shadows dun and gray
Brings on, and fields are drear and dark,
And summer birds have flown away,—

I feel the year's slow-beating heart.
The sky's chill prophecy I know;
And welcome the consummate art
Which weaves this spotless shroud of snow!

Joel Benton (1832-1911)
American writer, poet and lecturer

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