Lightness in Autumn

By Robert Fitzgerald 1910–1985 Robert Fitzgerald
The rake is like a wand or fan,   
With bamboo springing in a span   
To catch the leaves that I amass   
In bushels on the evening grass.

I reckon how the wind behaves   
And rake them lightly into waves   
And rake the waves upon a pile,   
Then stop my raking for a while.

The sun is down, the air is blue,   
And soon the fingers will be, too,   
But there are children to appease   
With ducking in those leafy seas.

So loudly rummaging their bed
On the dry billows of the dead,
They are not warned at four and three   
Of natural mortality.

Before their supper they require   
A dragon field of yellow fire
To light and toast them in the gloom.   
So much for old earth’s ashen doom.

Robert Fitzgerald, “Lightness in Autumn” from Spring Shade: Poems 1931-1970. Copyright © 1969 by Robert Fitzgerald. Used by permission of New Directions Publishing Corporation.

Source: Spring Shade: Poems 1931-1970 (New Directions Publishing Corporation, 1971)

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Poet Robert Fitzgerald 1910–1985

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

Subjects Living, Time & Brevity, Nature, Fall, Trees & Flowers

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza

 Robert  Fitzgerald

Biography

Robert Fitzgerald (1910 - 1985) was born in Springfield, Illinois, and attended Harvard University, where he received an excellent education in the classics. After college, he started to translate Greek poetry to keep up his skills. They were published and soon earned him the reputation as one of the best Greek translators in English. Though more known for his translations, Fitzgerald is also a poet in his own right. In poems . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Time & Brevity, Nature, Fall, Trees & Flowers

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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