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

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This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 13 Number 1, on page 49
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