With the disheartened flowers

I guess that different times of year make some feelings more acute, and maybe autumn, when days grow shorter and skies are often greyer, and when the sun is shining there is often a bite of cold waiting in shadows, is a particularly difficult season for those who are feeling down, or lonely or alone…

Joseph Trumbull Stickney was an American poet who had a tragically short life, born in 1874 and dying when only he was only just thirty. He was born in Switzerland but travelled widely in Europe with his parents, Austin Stickney and Harriet née Trumbull. Joseph graduated from Harvard but also spent seven years at the Sorbonne studying for his doctorate. He wrote mostly sonnets, but here is a slightly longer poem…


These autumn gardens, russet, gray and brown,
The sward with shrivelled foliage strown,
The shrubs and trees
By weary wings of sunshine overflown
And timid silences,—

Since first you, darling, called my spirit yours,
Seem happy, and the gladness pours
From day to day,
And yester-year across this year endures
Unto next year away.

Now in these places where I used to rove
And give the dropping leaves my love
And weep to them,
They seem to fall divinely from above,
Like to a diadem

Closing in one with the disheartened flowers.
High up the migrant birds in showers
Shine in the sky,
And all the movement of the natural hours
Turns into melody.

Trumbull Stickney  1874 – 1904


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