by Stewart Wilkinson

Home 9 Composers 9 Stewart Wilkinson 9 AUTUMN’S ORCHESTRA


Know by the thread of music woven through this fragile web of cadences I spin,
that I have only caught these songs since you voiced them upon your haunting violin.

There is a lonely minor chord that sings faintly and far along the forest ways, 

when the firs finger faintly on the strings of that rare violin the night wind plays, 

just as it whispered once to you and me beneath the pines beyond the sea.

And then the sound of marching armies ‘woke amid the branches of the soldier oak,
and tempests ceased their waring cry, and dumb the lashing storms that muttered, 

overcome, choked by the heralding of battle smoke, 

when these gnarled branches beat their martial drum.

A sweet high treble threads its silv’ry song, voice of the restless aspen, fine and thin. 

It trills its pure soprano light and long like the vibrato of a mandolin.

The cedar trees have sung their vesper hymn, and now the music sleeps. 

Its benediction falling where the dim dusk of the forest creeps.

Mute grows the great concerto, and the light of day is dark’ning. Goodnight. 

But through the night time I shall hear within the murmur of the trees,
the calling of your distant violin sobbing across the seas.

And waking wind and star-reflected light shall voice my answering. 


– excerpts from “Autumn’s Orchestra” by E. Pauline Johnson 




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