This season’s colours will be brown and gold
Fading to sepia, like a photograph.
The leaves, still splendid, are already old,
Their richness is a kind of aftermath.

This, like all seasons, is a time of change.
The new awaits, the old must pass away.
But this is autumn’s theme, however strange:
Beauty is interwoven with decay.

For trees, for people, autumn time arrives.
Nature or Man, this law affects us all;
We all must reach the autumn of our lives.
Cities and empires, like the leaves, must fall.

This is the tint of autumn, briefly there—
The shade between elation and despair.



David Whippman is a British poet, now retired after a career in healthcare. Over the years he’s had quite a few poems, articles and short stories published in various magazines.

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11 Responses

  1. David Watt

    Hello David. The sense of autumnal colours and seasonal progression both come through strongly in your sonnet.

    My personal preference would be to reduce the occurrence of the word ‘this’ from five down to four. I have sometimes found myself repeating a word, when a substitution would serve the purpose equally as well.

    For example, “But this is autumn’s theme, however strange:”
    could be:

    “Though autumn’s theme may seem a little strange:”

    I must also mention that your closing couplet is particularly well done.

    • dave Whippman

      Hi David. Thanks for the feedback. I didn’t notice the repetition of “this” but you make a fair point.

  2. Theresa Rodriguez

    Thank you, David, for this beautiful sonnet. I can relate very much to the sentiments in it because I, too, have been writing lately about the “autumn” or “fall” of life and the changes and realities that come with age and aging. Well done!

    • dave Whippman

      Thanks Theresa. I suppose it’s an inexhaustible theme – the changing seasons paralleled as we ourselves age.

  3. C.B. Anderson

    David, this poem was well conceived, and I don’t mind the -graph/-math rhyme. Fricatives are fricatives, whether labial or dental. But growing (or being) old really sucks — where is all the damn gold?!

    • dave Whippman

      Thanks for the feedback CB. I must admit I am more lax about rhymes than I used to be. In the past, I might have beaten myself up about graph/math. Now I’m too old to care. So growing old does have advantages!

  4. C Marx

    This is beautiful and evocative and the slightly sombre atmosphere it creates is very moving.

    • dave Whippman

      Thanks sir. Sometimes I find rhyme and metre can get in the way of content, but in this poem – maybe more by luck than judgement – it worked out.

  5. T.M.

    “But this is autumn’s theme, however strange:
    Beauty is interwoven with decay.”

    That line froze me. It reminds me of the paintings of Andrew Wyeth, how he found so much beauty in things no one else would look twice at. And that’s one of the things I like best about fall – it gets your attention and makes you look at familiar things in a new way, to discover the beauty that’s there all the time. Great poem, Dave.

    • dave Whippman

      Thanks TM. You are right; we miss so much through our fixed expectations. And also there is the knowledge, unwelcome perhaps, that everything in this world must perish in the end.

  6. Kathy Buxton

    This poem is very moving to me. At the end of August, every year, I begin to become depressed and faced with autumn reminding me of these changes. Your poem is full of rich, lovely, and raw insight. Thank you.


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