Miami Woods

William D. Gallagher

The autumn time is with us! — Its approach
Was heralded, not many days ago,
By hazy skies, that veiled the brazen sun,
And sea-like murmurs from the rustling corn,
And low-voiced brooks that wandered drowsily
By purpling clusters of the juicy grape,
Swinging upon the vine. And now, 't is here!
And what a change hath passed upon the face
Of Nature, where the waving forest spreads,
Then robed in deepest green! All through the night
The subtle frost hath plied its mystic art;
And in the day the golden sun hath wrought
True wonders; and the winds of morn and even
Have touched with magic breath the changing leaves.
And now, as wanders the dilating eye
Athwart the varied landscape, circling far,
What gorgeousness, what blazonry, what pomp
Of colors, bursts upon the ravished sight!
Here, where the maple rears its yellow crest,
A golden glory: yonder, where the oak
Stands monarch of the forest, and the ash
Is girt with flame-like parasite, and broad
The dogwood spreads beneath, a rolling field
Of deepest crimson; and afar, where looms
The gnarled gum, a cloud of bloodiest red!

Out in the woods of Autumn! — I have cast
Aside the shackles of the town, that vex
The fetterless soul, and come to hide myself,
Miami! in thy venerable shades.
Low on thy bank, where spreads the velvet moss,
My limbs recline. Beneath me, silver-bright,
Glide the clear waters, with a plaintive moan
For summer's parting glories. High o'erhead.
Seeking the sedgy lakes of the warm South,
Sails tireless the unerring waterfowl,
Screaming among the cloud-racks. Oft from where,
Erect on mossy trunk, the partridge stands,
Bursts suddenly the whistle clear and loud,
Far-echoing through the dim wood's fretted aisles.
Deep murmurs from the trees, bending with brown
And ripened mast, are interrupted now
By sounds of dropping nuts; and warily
The turkey from the thicket comes, and swift
As flies an arrow darts the pheasant down,
To batten on the autumn; and the air,
At times, is darkened by a sudden rush
Of myriad wings, as the wild pigeon leads
His squadrons to the banquet. Far away,
Where the pawpaw its mellow fruitage yields,
And thick, dark clusters of the wild grape hang,
The merry laugh of childhood, and the shout
Of truant schoolboy, ring upon the air.