The golden days of late October fade
As bleak November’s iron skies descend.
When tresses, like the leaden clouds, have grayed,
We see our fruitful time’s approaching end.

The sunlight that besieged us with its heat
Now leans against the south walls, cold and tired.
There is no empire time will not defeat;
Each Golden Age that flared has soon expired.

Byzantium lies silent under steel,
Persepolis has crumbled back to dust.
Despite the wistful longing we might feel,
All times of summer fade, as fade they must.

Embrace what time remains; it will not last.
Your autumn, too, will soon be ancient past.


Lorna Davis is a poet who is happily retired and living in California.

NOTE TO READERS: If you enjoyed this poem or other content, please consider making a donation to the Society of Classical Poets.

The Society of Classical Poets does not endorse any views expressed in individual poems or commentary.

CODEC Stories:

29 Responses

  1. Satyananda Sarangi

    Lorna ma’am, greetings!

    This is a very beautiful and melodious sonnet; I feel I would remember it for a long time.

    Looking forward to reading more such pieces. 🙂


      • Lorna Davis

        Mr. Sarangi, I must apologize for taking so long to respond. There are some projects going on in my house that have had things in disarray for the last several days. It is kind of you to ask for my opinion on your work; unlike so many of the poets and scholars here, I’m just an old rhymer, and have only begun to learn the proper terms for the rhythms, patterns and structures of classical poetry since joining this Society. You are probably years ahead of me in that regard. 🙂 But I have read the poems you referred me to, as well as the comments from other poets. You write beautiful poetry, with fine sentiments. I especially liked “The Pilgrimage to Heaven”; looking back through the perfect lens of hindsight, I would have lived a different life if I’d followed that sage advice. The comments you received contained some good advice from some very fine poets. I am always in awe of anyone who can write in a second language. I think we’re fortunate to have you here, and I look forward to reading more of your poetry!

  2. Bruce Edward Wren

    “Golden lads and girls all must,
    As chimney-sweepers, come to dust.”

    Beautifully wrought poem. Congrats.

    • Lorna Davis

      Thank you. I don’t know if you’re a fan of Loreena McKennitt, but her “Cymbeline” is one of my favorites.

  3. Dave Blanchard

    Stirring, like the multi-hued leaves in the season’s breezes. Thank you!

  4. James Sale

    A wonderful poem, perfectly executed: love the movement from the natural world – the sunlight that besieged us – to the great civilisations in the third stanza – to finally the crisp, curt personal application. This poem could be set alongside Shelley’s famous Ozymandias. Great stuff.

    • Lorna Davis

      Thank you James. The final couplet on this sonnet actually took a few years to get right. I’d write one, and not quite like it, and move it to the back burner again. Then one day it just worked. The process is such a mystery, sometimes. I’m glad you liked it.

  5. Lew Icarus Bede

    The sonneteers are flourishing at SCP. This sonnet can easily be placed alongside Mr. Whidden’s classical embrace, Mr. MacKenzie’s Christ-centered vision, and Ms. Foreman’s rich domesticity. What I particularly like is the Shakespearean attitude clothed in language that is as refined as that of Thomas Gray. To use a Reid McGrath metaphor, Ms. Davis has hit a home run.

    • Lorna Davis

      Thank you, Mr. Bede. It’s no small thing to have this sonnet compared to the work of Mr. Whidden, Mr. MacKenzie, and Ms. Foreman. I never was any good at baseball. 🙂 But if I can hit a home run with a poem now and then, that’s fine with me.

  6. Fr. Richard Libby

    This sonnet features lovely imagery and sobering truth. Congratulations!

  7. ben

    we had to analyze your poem for an essay at school.
    I enjoyed analyzing it, it’s beautiful.

    • Lorna Davis

      Thank you, Ben! What a lovely surprise, that a poem of mine might be read by students in a classroom somewhere. It was very kind of you to take the time to let me know. 🙂

      • Anon

        I am currently preparing to use this poem for a mock exam at my school. I am struck by how beautiful it is.
        Thankyou for giving us plenty of language and structure features to talk about!

  8. Thuthuka

    Hey Lorna , I was given the choice to choose whichever poem I desired to analyze and perform and I somehow concluded to this beauty right here …Is it possible to get a performance from you on this poem

  9. iris

    Hi there, you wrote such an amazing poem. Is there any way I can contact you or your team? I would love to interview you for my school work. Hoping to hear from you soon.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Captcha loading...

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.