Goldenrod, Late Fall
by Mary Oliver
This morning the goldenrod are all wearing
their golden shirts
fresh from heaven’s soft wash in the chill night.
So it must be a celebration.
And here comes the wind, so many swinging wings!
Has he been invited, or is he the intruder?
Invited, whisper the golden pebbles of the weeds,
as they begin to fall
over the ground. Well, you would think the little murmurs
of the broken blossoms would have said
otherwise, but no. So I sit down among them to
think about it while all around me the crumbling
goes on. The weeds let down their seedy faces
cheerfully, which is the part I like best, and certainly
it is as good as a book for learning from. You would think
they were just going for a small sleep. You would think
they couldn’t wait, it was going to be
that snug and even, as all their lives were, full of
excitation. You would think
it was a voyage just beginning, and no darkness anywhere,
but tinged with all necessary instruction, and light,
and all were shriven, as all the round world is,
and so it wasn’t anything but easy to fall, to whisper
You can find this poem in Why I Wake Early.