Fall’s leaves are redder than
spring’s flowers, have no pollen,
and also sometimes fly, as the wind
schools them out or down in shoals
or droves: though I
have not been here long, I can
look up at the sky at night and tell
how things are likely to go for
the next hundred million years:
the universe will probably not find
a way to vanish nor I
in all that time reappear.
The sun sets out the autumn crocuses
And fills them up a pouring measure
Of death-producing wine, till treasure
Runs waste down their chalices.
All, all Persephone’s pale cups of mould
Are on the board, are over-filled;
The portion to the gods is spilled;
Now, mortals all, take hold!
The time is now, the wine-cup full and full
Of lambent heaven, a pledging-cup;
Let now all mortal men take up
The drink, and a long, strong pull.
Out of the hell-queen’s cup, the heaven’s pale wine –
Drink then, invisible heroes, drink.
Lips to the vessels, never shrink,
Throats to the heavens incline.
And take within the wine the god’s great oath
By heaven and earth and hellish stream
To break this sick and nauseous dream
We writhe and lust in, both.
Swear, in the pale wine poured from the cups of the queen
Of hell, to wake and be free
From this nightmare we writhe in,
Break out of this foul has-been.