A Velvet Shoe

Autumn wears a velvet shoe,
And makes no footstep sound.
Colored leaves a signal sense
And ballet to the ground.
Milkweed pods burst their coats
To let their ripe seeds fly,
On silken wings to other lands
Against a darkening sky.
The alder leaves along the branch
Clasp their hands in prayer
In sanctuary silence—
Autumn is in the air.
The wild geese warn of winter
In frost-remembered cry,
A honking wedge of feathers,
As to the south they fly.
Sleep sweetly, Earth, but lightly,
You have earned a rest.
Soon you’ll hear the curtain call
To model April’s dress.

[illustration] Illustrated by Mary Walton