Autumn Ecstasy

In ecstasy has autumn come
With burning bush, chrysanthemum,
And quaking aspens shaking fast
While crackling oak leaves shiver past
The pumpkined porches bright and brown,
And branches’ clothes fall lightly down
From limbs that clap and brave the cold.
The naked branches lose their gold
To raked-up piles of sweet decay,
While clouds’ and winds’ exuberant play
Joins in the brilliant synergy,
And fiery orange energy
Blows summer’s lethargy away.



After the Fall

In late October, when the leaves are down
Around our feet instead of overhead
Where lately they had flaunted orange-red
Bouquets with goldleaf trim—a sunlit crown—
They vaunt their vivid hues, untinged with brown
Foreshadowing. In maple flames unhaunted
By death for these few days, they blaze undaunted
In sub-tree circles everywhere in town.



Cynthia Erlandson is a poet and fitness professional living in Royal Oak, Michigan.  Her poetry has been published in First Things, The Society of Classical Poets, Modern Age, The North American Anglican, Forward in Christ, The Book of Common Praise hymnal, The Orchards Poetry Journal, and others.  Her collection of poems for the Church year, “These Holy Mysteries”, is available on Amazon.

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32 Responses

  1. Theresa Rodriguez

    I really enjoyed these poems, especially “Autumn Ecstasy”! I especially like the clever “come/chrysanthemum” and “synergy/energy” rhymes. Writing as crisp and beautiful as your fall day! Well done, Cynthia!

  2. James A. Tweedie

    Cynthia, Let me add my voice to the chorus of kudos. As I read both poems I could feel the crunch of colorful, molding leaves under my feet begging to be raked into piles! I also was forced to contend with my dialectical tendency to pronounce “fiery” as three syllables and “orange” as one. You have used them correctly, of course, and strikingly so, but I wonder if anyone else had to “self-correct” in reading those two words?

    • Margaret Coats

      James, in “fiery” and “orange” we have the liquid consonant “r” that modifies pronunciation rather easily. I ordinarily say “fiery” as two syllables and “orange” as one. My American dictionary says “fiery” has three and “orange” has two. The British Shorter OED does not divide syllables for easy checking, but its phonetics appear to allow two or three syllables for “fiery” and one or two for “orange.” Thus, you are not self-correcting, but merely adjusting to the marvelous potential of our language.

      • James A. Tweedie

        Language fluid? Heaven forbid! That would make it a living thing that we would have to either tame and domesticate for our pleasures and purposes or suffer the bite of its uncontrollable feral and fiery fickleness!

        Have you ever been bitten by an orange? It’s not pretty . . .

        (PS to Margaret: Thanks for the reply)

    • Peter Hartley

      These two poems paint vivid pictures and I particularly liked the first It’s three final rhymes are daring and work well. I see the spell chequer is giving me Unpossessive apostrophes again.

  3. Leo Zoutewelle

    Yes, chorus of kudos, but I simply wish to let you know I like your poetry – especially today! Thanks.

  4. Susan Jarvis Bryant

    What a beautiful poetic depiction of a perfect autumn, Cynthia. On the coastal plains of Texas we seem to breeze through autumn without noticing its arrival or departure. Your magical words have taken me straight back to my homeland of England and wrapped me in the colors, sounds, scents and wonders of my favorite season. I love all the poetic devices you’ve employed, especially the alliteration and internal rhymes – synergy/energy/lethargy is a masterstroke and I adore your “pumpkined porches”! Thank you very much for my nostalgic smile. 🙂

    • Cynthia Erlandson

      I totally understand what you mean about missing Autumn in Texas, Susan! I lived in Texas for two years. Though I liked some things about it, I really missed watching the colors change as I had in Illinois (and do now in Michigan). Thank you so much for your kind comments!

  5. Margaret Coats

    Cynthia, I love the pumpkined porches as much as Susan does, and find it fascinating that oak leaves manifest their shivering by crackling sounds. Are the limbs in “Autumn Ecstasy” applauding the cold or should they be clasping it?

    In “After the Fall” you make a beautiful point about this particular moment in the seasons with the placement of “Foreshadowing.”

    • Cynthia Erlandson

      Thank you, Margaret, especially for your comment about “foreshadowing.” I have long been obsessed with something mysteriously profound about times of overlap, such as when two seasons are sort of combining with each other in those times that hover between them.
      Your question about the limbs clapping is a good one. I’m hoping that they are clapping for the leaves that are falling gracefully down; but I see your point that it may appear they are clapping for the cold (which isn’t likely). “Clasping” the cold might be a good alternative.

  6. Jeff Eardley

    Cynthia, these are two lovely poems for this time of year. This must have been a super walk to inspire such leaf-rustling, pumpkin hanging pleasure. There is not much to smile about over here at the moment with all the rain, and everything else, but you have certainly lit up my day. Thank you.

    • Cynthia Erlandson

      Thank you so much, Jeff! I am happy to have had the opportunity to light up your day!

  7. Martin Rizley

    Beautifully written odes to this magical season of the year when the muses rouse themselves after a long soporiphic summer and move poetic souls like yours to write at the first gust of cool air in the face or the first blur of orange whirling past. I love the vivid pictures you paint by the use of poetic expressions like “pumpkined porches” and “raked-up piles of sweet decay.” Quite a lovely landscape!

    • Cynthia Erlandson

      Thank you very much, Martin! Your comments here are quite poetic; you must love autumn as much as I do!

  8. C.B. Anderson

    In “Autumn Ecstasy” you, Cynthia, have fitted form to function together in a rather surprising way. Each line in the series evokes a separate image that hangs from the poem’s framework, then falls , like a leaf to a pile, becoming an integrated whole created by the accumulation of discrete entities. Now that’s “exuberant play,” to be sure

    • Cynthia Erlandson

      Wow — thank you, C.B. — sometimes I don’t know quite what I’m doing when I’m writing. I’m flattered by your description!

      • C.B. Anderson

        Very few of us know exactly what we’re doing, Cynthia, which keeps things interesting. I won’t call it the Muse, but there are always creative, organizing, forces working just below the surface that create structures of which the conscious mind may not be aware. As you practice your craft, these elements tend to become more under the control of the author, but there is no end to them — something will always emerge that surprises you, for the possibilities are nearly infinite. I have sometimes wondered why I’ve never heard of instances in which two poets came up with the same poem independently. That could potentially be very embarrassing for one or the other. I think the answer lies in the numbers, the sheer improbability of such a thing happening. Georg Cantor discovered transfinite cardinal numbers, and anyone who ever gets even a little glimmer of the implications of his discovery will understand why and how our obsession with arranging words on a page will last until the end of time. Even with infinite time (which is serial), never will every possible poem have been written, because each moment sparks an infinity (of higher order) of thoughts and ways of expressing them. I might have gotten some of the math wrong, but you get the idea: poetry is inexhaustible.

  9. David Watt

    Cynthia, I found ‘Autumn Ecstasy’, in particular, to be a richly descriptive snapshot of Autumn. Both poems bring me back, or forward, to this season of movement and colour.


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