Gold In The Fields

Autumn is coming. There were so many beautiful golden shades in the fields at Third Winchester Battlefield around the battle anniversary over last weekend.

It reminded me of this section from Stephen Vincent Benet’s long poem, John Brown’s Body:

Autumn is filling his harvest-bins
With red and yellow grain,
Fire begins and frost begins
And the floors are cold again.

Summer went when the crop was sold,
Summer is piled away,
Dry as a faded marigold
In the dry, long-gathered hay.

It is time to walk to the cider-mill
Through air like apple wine
And watch the moon rise over the hill,
Stinging and hard and fine.

It is time to cover your seed-pods deep
And let them wait and be warm,
It is time to sleep the heavy sleep
That does not wake for the storm.

Winter walks from the green, streaked West
With a bag of Northern Spies,
The skins are red as a robin’s breast,
The honey chill as the skies.

Melora Vilas walked in the woods that autumn
And heard the dry leaves crackle under her feet,
Feeling, below the leaves, the blunt heavy earth.
“It’s getting-in time,” she thought. “It’s getting-in time,
Time to put things in barns and sit by the stove,
Time to watch the long snow and remember your lover.

“He isn’t dead. I know that he isn’t dead.
Maybe they’ve changed his body into a tree,
Maybe they’ve changed his body into a cloud
Or something that sleeps through the Winter.
But I’ll remember…”

6 Responses to Gold In The Fields

  1. Just a lovely addition to our ongoing poetry obsession. Thanks for this, and tell me–can one still buy Northern Spy apples back there?

  2. Tramping the fields of Chancellorsville, Wilderness and Spotsylvania this week I have noticed and appreciated these beautiful yellow flowers, then tonight I read your post. Thankyou.

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