Three Pieces on the Smoke of Autumn by Carl Sandburg
SMOKE of autumn is on it all. The streamers loosen and travel. The red west is stopped with a gray haze. They fill the ash trees, they wrap the oaks, They make a long-tailed rider In the pocket of the first, the earliest evening star.. . . Three muskrats swim west on the Desplaines River.
There is a sheet of red ember glow on the river; it is dusk; and the muskrats one by one go on patrol routes west.
Around each slippery padding rat, a fan of ripples; in the silence of dusk a faint wash of ripples, the padding of the rats going west, in a dark and shivering river gold.
(A newspaper in my pocket says the Germans pierce the Italian line; I have letters from poets and sculptors in Greenwich Village; I have letters from an ambulance man in France and an I. W. W. man in Vladivostok.)
I lean on an ash and watch the lights fall, the red ember glow, and three muskrats swim west in a fan of ripples on a sheet of river gold.. . . Better the blue silence and the gray west, The autumn mist on the river, And not any hate and not any love, And not anything at all of the keen and the deep: Only the peace of a dog head on a barn floor, And the new corn shoveled in bushels And the pumpkins brought from the corn rows, Umber lights of the dark, Umber lanterns of the loam dark.
Here a dog head dreams. Not any hate, not any love. Not anything but dreams. Brother of dusk and umber.