Poplars stand with their feet in the water.
Willows dip to the current cold.
Each as it were a king's proud daughter
Ruffling autumn's green and gold.
Autumn that paints, in her matchless manner,
Cloudy battlements red as blood,
Red is the sunset's royal banner,
Red is the river's marching flood.
Her late swallows go hunting, hawking.
There in the reeds a last bee drones.
Silence now, save the river talking
Quietly to the quartz and stones.
Pomp and pageant of colour ended,
Gathering grey and violet.
High above evening hills suspended,
One small planet in twilight's net.
Out of the east the night comes walking,
Dusk and silence a vigil keep,
Only the waters, talking, talking.
And all the rest of the world asleep.
First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 5 March 1938