This piece by Canadian poet Archibald Lampman is a great evocation of the earth, the transience of life, and the endless amount of types of beauty in the natural world. It has a great ghostly feeling to it, with a real sense of danger--not dramatic danger, but the real, supreme danger of death. Of death's inevitability.
BALLADE OF SUMMER'S SLEEP.
Sweet summer is gone; they have laid her away—The last sad hours that were touched with her grace—In the hush where the ghosts of the dead flowers play;The sleep that is sweet of her slumbering spaceLet not a sight or a sound eraseOf the woe that hath fallen on all the lands:Gather ye, dreams, to her sunny face,Shadow her head with your golden hands.
The woods that are golden and red for a dayGirdle the hills in a jewelled case,Like a girl's strange mirth, ere the quick death slayThe beautiful life that he hath in chase.Darker and darker the shadows paceOut of the north to the southern sands,Ushers bearing the winter's mace:Keep them away with your woven hands.
The yellow light lies on the wide wastes gray,More bitter and cold than the winds that race,From the skirts of the autumn, tearing away,This way and that way, the woodland lace.In the autumn's cheek is a hectic trace;Behind her the ghost of the winter stands;Sweet summer will moan in her soft gray place:Mantle her head with your glowing hands.
Till the slayer be slain and the spring displaceThe might of his arms with her rose-crowned bands,Let her heart not gather a dream that is base:Shadow her head with your golden hands.