The fallen leaves are red and dry.
Autumn burns. The still lake mirrors
a blue October sky.
In the cemetery the forgiven and unforgiven
lie side by side.

Hoarfrost on the goldenrod.
On the northern mountains new-fallen snow.
Time like a kindly god
reserves some open spaces in each row
for the living dead.

How long do we have who follow the sky?
Beneath the rustling maple leaves
in a green plot eleven by five
these ashy bones compact our fond belief
that the sun won’t die.

F. D. Reeve

A new initiative for discerning readers—and our close friends. Join The New Criterion’s Supporters Circle.

This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 13 Number 1, on page 49
Copyright © 2019 The New Criterion | www.newcriterion.com
newcriterion.com/issues/1994/9/the-village-graveyard