‘Autumn’s Orchestra’ By Emily Pauline Johnson


    Know by the thread of music woven through
    This fragile web of cadences I spin,
    That I have only caught these songs since you
    Voiced them upon your haunting violin.


    October's orchestra plays softly on
    The northern forest with its thousand strings,
    And Autumn, the conductor wields anon
    The Golden-rod –  The baton that he swings.


    There is a lonely minor chord that sings
    Faintly and far along the forest ways,
    When the firs finger faintly on the strings
    Of that rare violin the night wind plays,
    Just as it whispered once to you and me
    Beneath the English pines beyond the sea.


    The lost wind wandering, forever grieves
            Low overhead,
    Above grey mosses whispering of leaves
            Fallen and dead.
    And through the lonely night sweeps their refrain
    Like Chopin's prelude, sobbing 'neath the rain.


    The wild grape mantling the trail and tree,
    Festoons in graceful veils its drapery,
    Its tendrils cling, as clings the memory stirred
    By some evasive haunting tune, twice heard.



    It is the blood-hued maple straight and strong,
    Voicing abroad its patriotic song.


    Its daring colours bravely flinging forth
    The ensign of the Nation of the North.


    Elfin bell in azure dress,
    Chiming all day long,
    Ringing through the wilderness
    Dulcet notes of song.
    Daintiest of forest flowers
    Weaving like a spell - 
    Music through the Autumn hours,
    Little Elfin bell.


    And then the sound of marching armies 'woke
    Amid the branches of the soldier oak,
    And tempests ceased their warring cry, and dumb
    The lashing storms that muttered, overcome,
    Choked by the heralding of battle smoke,
    When these gnarled branches beat their martial drum.


    A sweet high treble threads its silvery song,
    Voice of the restless aspen, fine and thin
    It trills its pure soprano, light and long - 
    Like the vibretto of a mandolin.


    The cedar trees have sung their vesper hymn,
    And now the music sleeps - 
    Its benediction falling where the dim
    Dusk of the forest creeps.
    Mute grows the great concerto - and the light
    Of day is darkening, Good-night, Good-night.
    But through the night time I shall hear within
    The murmur of these trees,
    The calling of your distant violin
    Sobbing across the seas,
    And waking wind, and star-reflected light
    Shall voice my answering. Good-night, Good-night.

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