The leaves are just beginning to change around the countryside here in Pittsburgh. Even from my favorite reading chair (in my newborn son’s room) I can see that the trees towering over our neighbors’ houses are beginning to be touched with crimson. Say what you want about the leaf peepers in New England — autumn in southwestern Pennsyvania is pretty darn hard to beat. In honor of the season and the three rivers of my home, I present “Old River at Autumn” by M. Varin Hamler.
Autumn down old river way, dropping willows
Fringe the shallow, lazy water’s edge,
Cat-tails, bronze, on green reeds play
Hide-and-seek with goldenrod, and secure
On earthy ledge, gentian weed and marshgrass nod.
On the bank gay sumac flings banners red
As cardinal wings, and in poplar boughs
Overhead blackbirds call, and poise to fly,
Silhouettes against the sleepy sky.
Singing, silver ripples frame a lone blue heron
Where he stands, like cameo upon the sands,
While mellow sunshine peeps through tinge of
Woody-scented, smoky haze; these are lovely,
Lingering days: autumn down old river way.