Autumn ecstasy

Autumn ecstasy

A clear crispy day
          —dry and breezy air full of oxygen
Out of the sane silent beauteous miracles
          that envelop and fuse me
—trees   water   grass   sunlight
          and early frost—
what I’m looking at most today is the sky
          It has that delicate transparent blue
peculiar to autumn and the only clouds
          are little or larger white ones
lending their still and spiritual motion
          to the great concave

Earlier in the day it maintains
          a pure yet vivid blue
but as noon approaches
          the color gets lighter
quite gray for two or three hours
          —then paler still for a spell,
till sun-down—which I observe
          dazzling through the interstices
of a knoll of big trees
          —darts of fire and a gorgeous show
of light-yellow and red with a vast silver glaze
          askant on the water and transparent shadows
and shafts  that sparkle and colors more vivid
          than any painting ever made

I never really saw the skies before
          though of course I’ve seen them all my life
Perhaps in my best moments
          I never jot them down
when they come : I cannot afford
          to break the charm
by indicting memoranda
          I just abandon myself to the mood
and let it float on bearing me up
          in its placid ecstasy

Walt Whitman


From Specimen Days (1882) adapted by John Lyons

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