When I come unto the land I seek, will it be autumn there?
Will hearth-smoke send its pipeweed-tang into the twilight air?
Will the leaves dance on the meadow-grass and gather in the lanes,
Or lie in chill, impatient sulk beneath the autumn rains?
Will golden light lay down its lines sharp-angled on the cold
And the friendly shadows be the same as they had been of old?
I can feel again each footfall into vale and over hill,
Til mist came in and settled in the hollows, dusky-chill.
Unshuttered lights to guide me home to pipe and board and ale,
To laughter and companionship, to merry song and tale.
A rising flood of yesterdays is heavy on my soul,
But it cannot fill the emptiness, it cannot make me whole.
Sad autumn waves her russet flags into a ragged sky.
I feel her reach in puzzlement across the sea-bird’s cry.
Her gentle hand entwines my heart to pause in sudden doubt;
Her sweet exhalation falters as the grey ship comes about.
The sea-breath draws her own away and casts it to the shore,
And I taste the last of things that were, that shall be never more.