These autumn poems are selected for both their visual and emotional scenery. While every season lends itself to poetry, the wistful, wind-swept trees of autumn help us to notice more deeply the beauty of life even in its “final” stages.
Autumn is a time for artistry and awe, the structural details of a landscape coming alive in its dying, a bittersweet mixture of melancholy and fulfillment.
This season can inspire feelings of loneliness and sorrow, though it can also help us to feel the sacredness of sharing that solitude with each other. It shows the beauty of release, acting as a catalyst to our own introspective nature.
I keep my intro short, because there is enough tucked away in (between) the lines of these autumn poems… inspired by the falling leaves we must surely pause to see better, and the feelings we must surely share to be better.
8 Autumn Poems: Sights Seen and Feelings Felt
1. Winds of Autumn, by Saigyo
Even in a person
most times indifferent
to things around him
they waken feelings
the first winds of autumn.
2. Autumn, by Rainer Maria Rilke
The leaves are falling, falling as if from far up,
as if orchards were dying high in space.
Each leaf falls as if it were motioning “no.”
And tonight the heavy earth is falling
away from all other stars in the loneliness.
We’re all falling. This hand here is falling.
And look at the other one. It’s in them all.
And yet there is Someone, whose hands
infinitely calm, holding up all this falling.
“The leaves are changing; I feel poetry in the air.” — Laura Jaworski
3. Autumn, by Amy Boothby (Age 10)
Look at the different coloured leaves,
Swaying gently with the breeze,
Lovely reds, browns and greens,
All waiting to fall from the trees.
When they leave they twist and turn,
Ready to join the masses of fern,
Landing softly on the ground,
You can taste the smell of autumn, all around.
4. Autumn Moonlight, by Matsuo Basho
a worm digs silently
into the chestnut.
“No spring nor summer beauty hath such grace / As I have seen in one autumnal face.” — John Donne
5. Autumn Song, by Sarojini Naidu
Like a joy on the heart of a sorrow,
The sunset hangs on a cloud;
A golden storm of glittering sheaves,
Of fair and frail and fluttering leaves,
The wild wind blows in a cloud.
Hark to a voice that is calling
To my heart in the voice of the wind:
My heart is weary and sad and alone,
For its dreams like the fluttering leaves have gone,
And why should I stay behind?
6. Autumn Fires, by Robert Louis Stevenson
In the other gardens
And all up the vale,
From the autumn bonfires
See the smoke trail!
Pleasant summer over
And all the summer flowers,
The red fire blazes,
The gray smoke towers.
Sing a song of seasons!
Something bright in all!
Flowers in the summer,
Fires in the fall!”
“And all at once, summer collapsed into fall.” — Oscar Wilde
7. A Day In Autumn, by Ronald Stuart Thomas
It will not always be like this,
The air windless, a few last
Leaves adding their decoration
To the trees’ shoulders, braiding the cuffs
Of the boughs with gold; a bird preening
In the lawn’s mirror. Having looked up
From the day’s chores, pause a minute,
Let the mind take its photograph
Of the bright scene, something to wear
Against the heart in the long cold.
8. Autumn, by William Morris
Laden Autumn here I stand
Worn of heart, and weak of hand:
Nought but rest seems good to me,
Speak the word that sets me free.
. . .
Which of these poems is your favorite?
Tell me in the comments. I read every single one, and I'd love to know!
P.S. Want to meditate on the season? Try this mindfulness practice inspired by the falling leaves. I love this one.