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

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