Don't you hear the goldenrod whispering goodbye?

On this last day of Autumn, two poems by Mary Oliver. I love her tender, friendly observation of the woods and waters near her home, and her gentle, companionable way of bringing the lovely world to our notice. The first one is called "Song for Autumn." I found a couple of different versions but took this one from Poetry magazine, which I take to be authoritative. Also because in the other versions the pond 'vanishes', but how much more lyrical that it should 'stiffen' with the coming cold. 

Don't you imagine the leaves dream now
     how comfortable it will be to touch
the earth instead of the
     nothingness of the air and the endless
freshets of wind? And don't you think
     the trees, especially those with
mossy hollows, are beginning to look for

the birds that will come - six, a dozen - to sleep
     inside their bodies? And don't you hear
the goldenrod whispering goodbye,
     the everlasting being crowned with the first
tuffets of snow? The pond
     stiffens and the white field over which
the fox runs so quickly brings out
     its long blue shadows. The wind wags
its many tails. And in the evening
     the piled firewood shifts a little,
longing to be on its way. 

The second is "Fall Song." It is less fanciful, more conventional as an autumn poem, having a  melancholy undertow and a sense of longing, but it is by no means derivative. It has strikingly original images, like the 'black subterranean castle of unobservable mysteries'. For a poet whose strength is observation, the 'unobservable mysteries' are in part what pull her towards the more melancholy view, yet her final vision is bright with illumination, as true as anything in verse.

Another year gone, leaving everywhere
its rich spiced residues: vines, leaves,

the uneaten fruits crumbling damply
in the shadows, unmattering back

from the particular island
of this summer, this NOW, that now is nowhere

except underfoot, moldering
in that black subterranean castle

of unobservable mysteries - roots and sealed seeds
and the wanderings of water. This

I try to remember when time's measure
painfully chafes, for instance when autumn

flares out at the last, boisterous and like us longing
to stay - how everything lives, shifting

from one bright vision to another, forever
in these momentary pastures.