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Margaret Junkin Preston (Маргарет Джанкин Престон)

A November Nocturne

The autumn air sweeps faint and chill
Across the maple-crested hill;
And on my ear
Falls, tingling clear,
A strange, mysterious, woodland thrill.

From utmost twig, from scarlet crown
Untouched with yet a tinct of brown,
Reluctant, slow,
As loath to go,
The loosened leaves come wavering down;

And not a hectic trembler there,
In its decadence, doomed to share
The fate of all,—
But in its fall
Flings something sob-like on the air.

No drift or dream of passing bell,
Dying afar in twilight dell,
Hath any heard,
Whose chimes have stirred
More yearning pathos of farewell.

A silent shiver as of pain,
Goes quivering through each sapless vein;
And there are moans,
Whose undertones
Are sad as midnight autumn rain.

Ah, if without its dirge-like sigh,
No lightest, clinging leaf can die,—
Let him who saith
Decay and death
Should bring no heart-break, tell me why.

Each graveyard gives the answer: there
I read Resurgam everywhere,
So easy said
Above the dead—
So weak to anodyne despair.

Margaret Junkin Preston's other poems:
  1. Jackson
  2. The Bivouac in the Snow
  3. Stonewall Jackson's Grave
  4. When the War Is Over
  5. A Grave in Hollywood Cemetery, Richmond (J.R.T.)

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