Let Fall Your Shadows





Lord: it is time. The summer was immense.
Let fall your shadows on the sundials,
upon the fields let loose your winds.

Command the last fruits to be full;
give them just two more southern days,
Press them to completion, and chase the last
sweetness into the heavy wine.

Who has no house now – he will never build.
Whoever is alone now, long will so remain;
will stay awake, and read, and write long letters
and wander the alleys up and down,
restless, as the leaves are drifting.
~Rainer Maria Rilke “Autumn Day”


This sadness that fall brings
is less about the ending of a long hot dry summer
and more about deepening shadows,
the fullness of harvest,
the drifting and dying to self.

I am misty in memories
of children dressed for school
eating around a full kitchen table,
of chores done hurriedly on frosty mornings,
of afternoons darkening too early
from drizzly clouds,
of nights under heavy comforters.

Lord, it is time.  Too soon, too soon.
Help ready me.






6 thoughts on “Let Fall Your Shadows

  1. Oh, I wonder if the different places we live have an effect on our attitudes toward autumn? I LOVE autumn! It’s my very favorite season–full of the last bright, crisp outpouring of God’s seasonal glory!! Spring is nice–it’s lovely to watch the glory start to unfold, but summer is enervating. Fall–I always think I can’t possibly get “enough” of it–and yet when the gray clouds of November roll in, it just seem right, somehow, and by then I’m ready.


  2. autumn in maine? i want to see that!! i, too, love fall with all the colors and the bright blue skies. and oregon duck football! sweaters, blankets, slippers and tea. books, candles, etc. emily, with all your wondrous flower photos, i can understand how much you will miss the glorious offerings of spring and summer. our great God has made it all, and i am so glad we are not all the same. so many blessings from above! peace.


  3. Perhaps my own melancholy has to do with being in the autumn of life — a time of color and many delights, but a time when shadows are deepening. I too loved autumn the most when I was younger, but am finding it carries a message, like Rilke’s poem, that I’m not always ready to receive. Blessings and thank you all for commenting, Emily


  4. A gray-orange cat settling on her favorite chair, Evening curls down around the city muttering/Stray leaves chase through mahogany alleyways–fickle flyers lifted high on thin November wings/Home-bound cars gallop past green-black lampposts, urged on by dark jockeys before the night chill/I take my Philadelphia medicine in small sips of sky-scraped indigo, and gulps of sienna too/Counting the bricks on shuttered Pine Street as I swallow, bending toward the sleepy light/It’s dog-walking time and the leash is tight, beneath a horned moon/Good neighbors scurry out and back, Old Winter comes too soon. (“Twilight Pharmacopoeia”)


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