Friday, November 07, 2014

Poetry Friday: An Autumn Reverie

Today's poem is a sad, lyrical, beautiful one by Ella Wheeler Wilcox. It's about grief and loss, and these things are especially on my mind today -- tonight I'll be appearing with Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle on her new EWTN show, talking about miscarriage. We filmed this episode of Catholic Mom's Cafe months and months ago, but the topic is timeless.

Donna and I talked about miscarriage, grief, loss, and healing. We talked, too, about "a peace too wonderful to understand" (the last line of Wilcox's poem).

I think my favorite lines from the poem are:

And I have waited for these autumn days,
Thinking the cooling winds would bring relief.
For I remembered how I loved them once,
When all my life was full of melody.

For more details from Donna about the show, which airs tonight at 6:30 Eastern time, see her blog.

An Autumn Reverie
Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Through all the weary, hot midsummer time,
My heart has struggled with its awful grief.
And I have waited for these autumn days,
Thinking the cooling winds would bring relief.
For I remembered how I loved them once,
When all my life was full of melody.
And I have looked and longed for their return,
Nor thought but they would seem the same, to me.

The fiery summer burned itself away,
And from the hills, the golden autumn time
Looks down and smiles. The fields are tinged with brown—
The birds are talking of another clime.
The forest trees are dyed in gorgeous hues,
And weary ones have sought an earthy tomb.
But still the pain tugs fiercely at my heart—
And still my life is wrapped in awful gloom.

The winds I thought would cool my fevered brow,
Are bleak, and dreary; and they bear no balm.
The sounds I thought would soothe my throbbing brain,
Are grating discords; and they can not calm
This inward tempest. Still it rages on.
My soul is tost upon a troubled sea,
I find no pleasure in the olden joys—
The autumn is not as it used to be.

I hear the children shouting at their play!
Their hearts are happy, and they know not pain.
To them the day brings sunlight, and no shade.
And yet I would not be a child again.
For surely as the night succeeds the day,
So surely will their mirth turn into tears.
And I would not return to happy hours,
If I must live again these weary years.

I would walk on, and leave it all behind:
will walk on; and when my feet grow sore,
The boatman waits—his sails are all unfurled—
He waits to row me to a fairer shore.
My tired limbs shall rest on beds of down,
My tears shall all be wiped by Jesus’ hand;
My soul shall know the peace it long hath sought --
A peace too wonderful to understand.

("An Autumn Reverie" is in the public domain.)


The Poetry Friday round up is at Random Noodling this week.


  1. I hope all goes well with your broadcast tonight. I know many people who have miscarried and for some reason they keep it hidden. Perhaps that is unwise?

  2. Thanks for stopping by, Diane, and for the good wishes.

    I think the question of whether and when to tell others about a pregnancy (or a miscarriage) is so personal, isn't it? So hard to say which is the right or wise way to go. I do know, though, that for me, the more support I received from those who knew, the "easier" it was, though it's never easy.

  3. What a beautiful poem -- sad, as you say,but so profound and far reaching. Wilcox's words resonate with me today as I think of my Mom, and spending our first Thanksgiving without her.

    Hope your broadcast goes well tonight!

  4. Oh, Jama, my sympathies again on the loss of your mom. I'm sure this Thanksgiving will be a hard one, as those firsts and milestones are. Hugs to you! And thanks for the good wishes. (I won't watch, as I can't stand to see myself talk. :) Just hope the discussion can be helpful to someone out there.)

  5. It's a wonderful thing to do something publicly what many choose not to share. Even if they continue to be very private, they have heard your conversation, Karen. The poem is lovely, from the heart, touches many parts of my feelings. Thank you.

  6. This poem makes me want to give the poet a hug.

    It reminds me of Edna St Vincent Millay's "Time Does Not Bring Relief," although Millay's loss is romantic, and Wilcox's could be anything.

    I had a miscarriage many years ago and could have used your book then! It's wonderful that people have so many resources, like your book, now.

  7. Thanks, Linda, and I'm glad you liked the poem. You were one of the people I thought of when I read it.

    Tabatha, I love what you said about wanting to give the poet a hug. And here's {{{one for you.}}}

  8. Karen, I believe it is so important to have someone who can listen to our grief. It can surface so many years later if we don't share it while the journey is fresh. The poem is lovely and does offer hope while honoring the very real grief.

  9. This poem captures the sorrow of all kinds of loss perfectly.

  10. Beautiful - and sad. Thank you for sharing. I'm sure the program was healing - just the thing for someone who needed it during such a season.
    I had a miscarriage before each child - was just thinking of that the other day myself. {{hugs}} to all...

  11. Hugs to you, too, Robyn. :)

    Joyce, I agree that the sharing of the grief is so important, and Mary Lee, yes, I think it applies to all kinds of grief.

  12. Wow, this poem. Wow.

    Your book, After Miscarriage, was such a grace-filled help to me last year after my fifth and sixth miscarriages. I've recommended it to so many friends, unfortunately, although they were so relieved to finally read about miscarriage from a Catholic perspective. So, thank you.

    Your blog is lovely and I stop by often, although I believe this is my first time commenting here. Thank you for your insights and inspirations.

    Because your blog is so lovely, I've nominated you on my site for the One Lovely Blog Award. If you'd like to pay it forward to some of your favorite bloggers, it's simple to participate in the nominations:
    ~Thank the person who nominated you for the award.
    ~Add the One Lovely Blog logo to your post.
    ~Share 7 facts/or things about yourself.
    ~Nominate about 15 bloggers you admire and inform nominees by commenting on their blog.

    I look forward to reading your new book and also your latest blog posts. Be well!

  13. Autumn, it's a powerful poem, isn't it?

    Is this really the first time you've commented here? I think we've talked on Twitter, though, right?

    Thanks so much for your very kind words about After Miscarriage. It's one book I wish there was no need for, and my sympathies on all of your losses and esp. the most recent ones.

    Hugs to you, and thank you for the nomination as a Lovely Blog!