Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, AUTUMN ROSES, by MARGARET STANLEY-WRENCH

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

AUTUMN ROSES, by            
First Line: Now when the year dips swiftly towards winter
Last Line: Before the even greyness of the night.
Subject(s): Autumn; Flowers; Roses; Seasons; Fall

Now when the year dips swiftly towards winter
And the sun slants steeply, and the mild afternoons
Are yellow as apples mellowing on the tree,
The roses flower again, now with the threat
Of frost and fall and dissolution of rain
Like blight for the last blooming. Clearer now
As if the frost shone through them, sweet with all
The summer's sun and all the summer's rain
Sucked into a brief glow, as if that light
Had now a form and shape and was a rose
Curled thin as a shell and smooth as wax to the finger,
And brighter now than when the haze of June
Throbbed like a string with heat and life and movement.

In this warm pause before the death of winter
Has seized the heart, as frost blackens the flower,
All loveliness halts on its height of beauty,
The butterfly that opens like a rose
Gratefully in the ripeness of the sun,
The rose with a heart clotted with threads of gold,
The fruit that breaks in sweetness on the ground
Before the rot, the mildew and the fog
Corrupt the yellow and the glowing leaf,
As, in the evening, before the light has gone
All light is brighter, as if through the fragile skin
Of the sky some other light like fire is pressing
Before the even greyness of the night.

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