THEY know the time to go!

The … clocks strike their inaudible hour

In field and woodland, and each punctual flower

Bows at the signal an obedient head,

And hastes to bed.


The pale anemone

Glides on her way with scarcely a good night;

The violets tie their purple nightcaps tight;

Hand clasped in hand, the dancing columbines,

In blithesome lines,


Drop their last courtesies,

Flit from the scene, and couch them for their rest;

The meadow lily folds her scarlet vest

Fair and serene,

And hides it 'neath the grasses lengthening green.


Her sister lily floats

On the blue pond, and raises golden eyes

To court the golden splendor of the skies;

The sudden signal comes, and down she goes

To find repose


In the cool depths below.

A little later and the asters blue

Depart in crowds, a brave and cheery crew;

While golden-rod, still wide awake and gay,

Turns him away,


Furls his bright parasol,

And, like a little hero, meets his fate.

The gentians, very proud to sit up late,

Next follow. Every fern is tucked and set

'Neath coverlet,


Downy and soft and warm.

No little seedling voice is heard to grieve,

Or make complaints the folding woods beneath;

No lingerer dares to stay, for well they know

The time to go.


Teach us your patience, brave,

Dear flowers, till we shall dare to part, like you,

Willing God's will, sure that his clock strikes true,

That his sweet day augurs a sweeter morrow

With smiles, not sorrow.



Susan Coolidge