Autumn Poems

Autumn in Sokolniki By Isaac Levitan - from Wikipedia

Autumn Day

(Translation of Rilke’s Herbstag)

Lord, it is time. The summer was so great.
Let fall your shadow on the sundials,
Let loose the winds through spaces.

Command the last fruits to ripen:
Give them two more southerly days
Drive them to completion and chase
The final sweetness into heavy wine.

Who has no house will not build now
Who is alone, alone will stay
Will wake and read, write long letters
And wander restless in the avenues
Where leaves are drifting.

The following poem emerged after reading Autumn Day above.

Song of the Unborn


Leafsmoke and drifting rain:

Who has no house, will not build now;
Who is alone, alone shall stay,
Sleep, wake, write long letters
And when the aimless leaves are blown,
Pause on the bridge, and wander restless
Across the winter into Spring.


Across the winter into Spring
How shall we live?
Lovers beneath the willows cry
Farewell: sunlight slipping
Through leaves and fingers,
Flashed away on rippled water;
The banks glided. A fish leapt,
Turning silver out of time.

Sometimes I awake and know
That I am here, and almost
The reins seem in my grasp,
But mostly I sleepwalk my days
Too much in time, not hearing
Red creepers, conkers, dahlias singing,
But taken and turned, by
A letter, a smile, an invitation
Received or withheld, and feeling:
It rains for me.
I am not here,
But elsewhere, or undiscovered;
But seeing how I am, I yet
Make no move
Across the winter into Spring.

Tilo Ulbricht – 1958


Foundations for a new building