Autumn is always too early.
The peonies are still blooming, bees
are still working out ideal states,
and the cold bayonets of autumn
suddenly glint in the fields and the wind
What is its origin? Why should it destroy
dreams, arbors, memories?
The alien enters the hushed woods,
anger advancing, insinuating plague;
woodsmoke, the raucous howls
Autumn rips away leaves, names,
fruit, it covers the borders and paths,
extinguishes lamps and tapers; young
autumn, lips purpled, embraces
mortal creatures, stealing
Sap flows, sacrificed blood,
wine, oil, wild rivers,
yellow rivers swollen with corpses,
the curse flowing on: mud, lava, avalanche,
Breathless autumn, racing, blue
knives glinting in her glance.
She scythes names like herbs with her keen
sickle, merciless in her blaze
and her breath. Anonymous letter, terror,
– Adam Zagajewski
translated by Renata Gorczynski
Without End: New and Selected Poems
“Deeper Into Alban Elfed
This is the Feast of the Autumn Equinox. The Light of the Sun in the Wheel of the Year stands in the West, in the Place of balance between the Light and the Darkness. This is a time of the Great Tides. This is the Gateway of the Year.
This Feast is known by many names to many people, for the Truth is reflected from many mirrors. It has been celebrated as Alban Elfed and Harvest. Our ancestors called it by names long forgotten, and our children will call it by names as yet unconceived.
At this time, our ancestors saw the Sun, for the first time in half a year, be unable to outshine the Dark. Although he still shines with strength, his strength grows weaker as the days grow shorter. Today he holds the Darkness in in equal measure to the Light, but he is struck in his season with the wound of Time and from day to day the darkness will grow as the Lord of Light sinks into his Age, for the wound is grievous and will not heal. This is a time of farewell and gratitude for the Summer that has been.
At this time, our ancestors saw the Lady who is the Spirit of the Land stand before her people with the full bounty of her Harvest. Here is the reward of labour and reverence of the Land. This is the fulfilled promise of the days of Spring and Summer. This is the Reckoning of the Year, for Harvest is now complete and the portions are set to feed folk and animals through the cold dark days that lie ahead. This is a time of wonder and gratitude for the gifts the Lady showers down upon her people.
This is the time of the turning of the Light into Darkness. Let us step forward into the darkening days holding before us the divine promise of new Light at the end of the Dark Days, from year to year and life to life. This is the lesson of the Lord and the Lady. This is our knowledge and our affirmation.
This is the Holy Word that is written in no less than the Earth and the Sky and in all things that are made. This is a wonder and a marvel.”