Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, RHENISH AUTUMN; TO TOUSSAINT LUCA, by GUILLAUME APOLLINAIRE



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RHENISH AUTUMN; TO TOUSSAINT LUCA, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: The children of the dead are going to play / in the graveyard
Last Line: Was the color of the autumn chestnuts
Alternate Author Name(s): Kostrowitzky, Wilhelm Apollina
Subject(s): Autumn; Children; Death; Mourning; Seasons; Fall; Childhood; Dead, The; Bereavement


The children of the dead are going to play
In the graveyard
Martin Gertrude Hans and Henri
No cock has crowed today
Kikiriki

The old women
All in tears are proceeding
And the good burros
Bray heehaw and start to munch the flowers
Of the funeral wreaths

This is the day of the dead and of all their souls
The children and the old women
Light candles and tapers
On each catholic grave
The veils of the old women
The clouds in the sky
Are like the beards of she-goats

The air trembles with flames and prayer

The graveyard is a beautiful garden
Full of hoary willows and rosemary
Often they are friends who are buried here
Ah! how blessed you are in the beautiful graveyard
You beggars who died drunkards
You who are eyeless as Fate
And you children who died as you prayed

Ah! how blessed you are in the beautiful graveyard
You burgomasters you seamen
And you counselors of state
And you gypsies without passport
Life is rotting your belly
We stumble on the cross at our feet

The owls hoot and the moaning wind from the Rhine
Blows out the tapers which the children light again and again
And the dead leaves
Come to cover the dead

Dead children now and then speak with their mother
And dead women now and then long to come back

Oh! I do not want you to return
The autumn is full of disembodied hands
No no these are dead leaves
They are the hands of the dear dead
They are your disembodied hands

We have wept so much today
With these dead their children and the old women
Under a sunless sky
In the graveyard full of flames

Then we had to turn back into the wind
At our feet the chestnuts rolled
And their burrs were
Like the wounded heart of the Madonna
We wondered if her skin
Was the color of the autumn chestnuts





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