Alfred Austin

(30 May 1835 – 2 June 1913 / Headingley)

As Dies The Year - Poem by Alfred Austin

The Old Year knocks at the farmhouse door.
October, come with your matron gaze,
From the fruit you are storing for winter days,
And prop him up on the granary floor,
Where the straw lies threshed and the corn stands heaped:
Let him eat of the bread he reaped;
He is feeble and faint, and can work no more.

Weaker he waneth, and weaker yet.
November, shower your harvest down,
Chestnut, and mast, and acorn brown;
For you he laboured, so pay the debt.
Make him a pallet-he cannot speak-
And a pillow of moss for his pale pinched cheek,
With your golden leaves for coverlet.

He is numb to touch, he is deaf to call.
December, hither with muffled tread,
And gaze on the Year, for the Year is dead,
And over him cast a wan white pall.
Take down the mattock, and ply the spade.
And deep in the clay let his clay be laid,
And snowflakes fall at his funeral.

Thus may I die, since it must be,
My wage well earned and my work-days done,
And the seasons following one by one
To the slow sweet end that the wise foresee;
Fed from the store of my ripened sheaves,
Laid to rest on my fallen leaves,
And with snow-white souls to weep for me.


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Poem Submitted: Thursday, April 8, 2010



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