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Simple Autumnal By Louise Bogan

November 26, 2000

The measured blood beats out the year's delay.

The tearless eyes and heart, forbidden grief,

Watch the burned, restless, but abiding leaf,

The brighter branches arming the bright day.

The cone, the curving fruit should fall away,

The vine stem crumble, ripe grain know its sheaf.

Bonded to time, fires should have done, be brief,

But, serfs to sleep, they glitter and they stay.

Because not last nor first, grief in its prime

Wakes in the day, and hears of life's intent.

Sorrow would break the seal stamped over time

And set the baskets where the bough is bent.

Full season's come, yet filled trees keep the sky

And never scent the ground where they must lie.

From "The Handbook of Heartbreak: 101 Poems of Lost Love and Sorrow," collected by Robert Pinsky (Rob Weisbach Books / William Morrow: 158 pp., $18)

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