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The Pure Poetry of Fall’s Majestic Beauty

Many of us look forward with great anticipation to that time of year when summer fades away and the days grow shorter and cooler. Autumn is a time of endings, as leaves fall from the trees and the first sparkling frosts remind us that winter’s just around the corner. But it’s also a time of beginnings; as F. Scott Fitzgerald reminds us, “Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.”

With the fall comes the excitement of children going back to school, the joy of harvest festivals, and the soul-soothing warmth of our favorite comfort foods. It’s the time for apple-picking, pie-baking, leaf-peeping, and pumpkin-carving, and it’s a season that invites introspection and contemplation. We’re reminded of life’s cyclical nature and the impermanence of all things, and we’re inspired to be grateful for the vibrant beauty and abundance of the season.

These poetic quotes that so eloquently describe the ephemeral splendor of autumn will make you want to cozy up with your favorite warm beverage and savor the season that poet John Howard Bryant called “the year’s last, loveliest smile.”

This season’s colours will be brown and gold / Fading to sepia, like a photograph. / The leaves, still splendid, are already old, / Their richness is a kind of aftermath.
David Whippman, “Autumn Sonnet”

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What is sometimes called a / tongue of flame / or an arm extended burning / is only the long / red and orange branch of / a green maple / in early September reaching / into the greenest field.
Grace Paley, “Autumn”

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I spot the hills / With yellow balls in autumn. / I light the prairie cornfields / Orange and tawny gold clusters / And I am called pumpkins.
Carl Sandburg, “Theme in Yellow”

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Hill-tops like hot iron glitter bright in the sun, / And the rivers we’re eying burn to gold as they run; / Burning hot is the ground, liquid gold is the air; / Whoever looks round sees Eternity there.
John Clare, “Autumn”

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Listen… / With faint dry sound, / Like steps of passing ghosts, /The leaves, frost-crisp’d, break from the trees / And fall.
Adelaide Crapsey, “November Night”

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Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, / Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun; / Conspiring with him how to load and bless / With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run.
John Keats, “To Autumn”

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I’m your guide here. In the evening-dark / morning streets, I point and name. / Look, the sycamores, their mottled, / paint-by-number bark. Look, the leaves / rusting and crisping at the edges.
Maggie Smith, “First Fall”

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That time of year thou mayst in me behold / When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang / Upon those boughs which shake against the cold, / Bare ruin’d choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.
William Shakespeare, “Sonnet 73"

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Fall, leaves, fall; die, flowers, away; / Lengthen night and shorten day; / Every leaf speaks bliss to me / Fluttering from the autumn tree.
Emily Brontë, “Fall, leaves, fall”

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Don’t you imagine the leaves dream now / how comfortable it will be to touch / the earth instead of the / nothingness of the air and the endless / freshets of wind?
Mary Oliver, “Song for Autumn”

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The trees are in their autumn beauty, / The woodland paths are dry, / Under the October twilight the water / Mirrors a still sky; / Upon the brimming water among the stones / Are nine-and-fifty swans.
William Butler Yeats, “The Wild Swans at Coole”

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Maple leaves turn black in the courtyard. / Light drives lower and one bluejay crams / our cold memories out past the sun.
Annie Finch, “Final Autumn”

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Held in a late season / At a shifting of worlds, / In the golden balance of autumn, / Out of love and reason / We made our peace.
Richard O. Moore, “A Reminiscence”

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A touch of cold in the Autumn night— / I walked abroad, / And saw the ruddy moon lean over a hedge / Like a red-faced farmer.
T.E. Hulme, “Autumn”

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Featured image credit: Photo Researchers/ Archive Photos via Getty Images

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About the Author
Kristina Wright
Kristina is a coffee-fueled writer living happily ever after with her family in the suburbs of Richmond, Virginia.
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