By an Autumn Fire

Now at our casement the wind is shrilling,
Poignant and keen
And all the great boughs of the pines between
It is harping a lone and hungering strain
To the eldritch weeping of the rain;
And then to the wild, wet valley flying
It is seeking, sighing,
Something lost in the summer olden.
When night was silver and day was golden;
But out on the shore the waves are moaning
With ancient and never fulfilled desire,
And the spirits of all the empty spaces,
Of all the dark and haunted places,
With the rain and the wind on their death-white faces,
Come to the lure of our leaping fire.

But we bar them out with this rose-red splendor
From our blithe domain,
And drown the whimper of wind and rain
With undaunted laughter, echoing long,
Cheery old tale and gay old song;
Ours is the joyance of ripe fruition,
Attained ambition.
Ours is the treasure of tested loving,
Friendship that needs no further proving;

No more of springtime hopes, sweet and uncertain,
Here we have largess of summer in fee–
Pile high the logs till the flame be leaping,
At bay the chill of the autumn keeping,
While pilgrim-wise, we may go a-reaping
In the fairest meadow of memory!

–L.M. Montgomery

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