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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.
The Library of the World’s Best Literature. An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.

Walter Malone (1866–1915)

November in the South

THIS livelong day I listen to the fall

Of hickory-nuts and acorns to the ground,

The croak of rain-crows and the blue-jay’s call,

The woodman’s axe that hews with muffled sound.

And like a spendthrift in a threadbare coat

That still retains a dash of crimson hue,

An old woodpecker chatters forth a note

About the better summer days he knew.

Across the road a ruined cabin stands,

With ragweeds and with thistles at its door,

While withered cypress-vines hang tattered strands

About its falling roof and rotting floor.

In yonder forest nook no sound is heard,

Save when the walnuts patter on the earth,

Or when by winds the hectic leaves are stirred

To dance like witches in their maniac mirth.

Down in the orchard hang the golden pears,

Half honeycombed by yellowhammer beaks;

Near by, a dwarfed and twisted apple bears

Its fruit, brown-red as Amazonian cheeks.

The lonesome landscape seems as if it yearned

Like our own aching hearts, when first we knew

The one love of our life was not returned,

Or first we found an old-time friend untrue.

At last the night comes, and the broad white moon

Is welcomed by the owl with frenzied glee;

The fat opossum, like a satyr, soon

Blinks at its light from yon persimmon-tree.

The raccoon starts to hear long-dreaded sounds

Amid his scattered spoils of ripened corn,

The cry of negroes and the yelp of hounds,

The wild rude pealing of a hunter’s horn.

At last a gray mist covers all the land

Until we seem to wander in a cloud,

Far, far away upon some elfin strand

Where sorrow drapes us in a mildewed shroud.

No voice is heard in field or forest nigh

To break the desolation of the spell,

Save one sad mocking-bird in boughs near by,

Who sings like Tasso in his madman’s cell;

While one magnolia blossom, ghostly white,

Like high-born Leonora, lingering there,

Haughty and splendid in the lonesome night,

Is pale with passion in her dumb despair.