A Day in Autumn
Rainer Maria Rilke, Austrian, 1875 – 1926. Translated by Mary Kinzie
After the summer’s yield, Lord, it is time
to let your shadow lengthen on the sundials
and in the pastures let the rough winds fly.
Hosta in battle formation Oak leaf hydrangea
Holly Giant sunflower
Goldenrod Swamp sunflower
Insect-trapping plant Sawara false cypress
As for the final fruits, coax them to roundness.
Direct on them two days of warmer light
to hale them golden toward their term, and harry
the last few drops of sweetness through the wine.
Quince Igiri tree
Southern magnolia Oakleaf hydrangea
Sapphire berry Rhododendron
Aromatic aster Perennial begonia Autumn ladies tresses
New England aster Russian sage
Whoever’s homeless now, will build no shelter;
who lives alone will live indefinitely so,
waking up to read a little, draft long letters,
and, along the city’s avenues,
fitfully wander, when the wild leaves loosen.
The featured image is the back of a giant elephant ear leaf.