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The Death of Autumn

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When reeds are dead and a straw to thatch the marshes, 

And feathered pampas-grass rides into the wind 

Like agèd warriors westward, tragic, thinned 

Of half their tribe, and over the flattened rushes, 

Stripped of its secret, open, stark and bleak, 

Blackens afar the half-forgotten creek– 

Then leans on me the weight of the year, and crushes 

My heart. I know that Beauty must ail and die, 

And will be born again–but ah, to see 

Beauty stiffened, staring up at the sky! 

Oh, Autumn! Autumn!–What is the Spring to me?

~ Edna St. Vincent Millay

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