Descent through autumn – the poet Rilke, and ‘carpe diem’…

The descent into darkness as autumn shades to winter, always makes me aware of the frailty of us all behind our carefully constructed masks – and of the fleeting nature of our existence. Here is a beautiful, poignant poem by one of my favourite poets, Rainer Maria Rilke, which captures the slow shift from ripeness to melancholy restlessness as the leaves tumble down…


Lord: it is time. The huge summer has gone by.
Now overlap the sundials with your shadows,
and on the meadows let the wind go free.

Command the fruits to swell on tree and vine;
grant them a few more warm transparent days,
urge them on to fulfillment then, and press
the final sweetness into the heavy wine.

Whoever has no house now, will never have one.
Whoever is alone will stay alone,
will sit, read, write long letters through the evening,
and wander along the boulevards, up and down,
restlessly, while the dry leaves are blowing.

 – Rainer Maria Rilke
translated by Stephen Mitchell


It’s been (and is) a stormy, difficult time in the life of our extended, patchwork family;  my own life has not been exempt. But amongst it all I am basically well, and grateful to be so. All the more reason, then, to ‘seize the day’, enjoy what life has to offer: in our case, the welcome company of Susie and Lola these last few days.

On Sunday we re-visited Pollok Park, Glasgow, UK,  introducing arty young Lola to the wonderful Burrell Collection, remembering Susie then as a little girl entranced by the leaf-strewn “Enchanted Forest” – just as Lola was on her first visit this week…history sure does repeat itself. Enjoy the photos!

Enchanted Forest
Enchanted Forest
Autumn Fairy with bouquet
Autumn Fairy with bouquet


























300 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2014
Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page




8 thoughts on “Descent through autumn – the poet Rilke, and ‘carpe diem’…

  1. “Write long letters through the evening” is a nostalgic look at days gone by. Nice poem and very suitable as I look out my window at the colored leaves blowing around. Our leaves are wet however after a few days of rain.

    1. Hi Bev – yes, that line especially registered with me for the same reasons! Rilke has so wonderfully caught the mood of autumn here…and our leaves are wet too as our normal rainy weather returns following a wonderful summer. I wish you plenty of creative juice to keep you and your readers inspired throughout the winter!

      1. Thank you Anne…I am putting the finishing touches to my second spiritual novel ‘Where Angels Gather’ and I find the “mood” of the autumn season very inspiring!

      2. Good to hear, Bev. Yes, I have always seemed to ‘wake up’ in autumn….all my Pluto conjunctions and Jupiter in Scorpio, methinks…the dark holds riches and I have mined there, long and deep…

  2. I didn’t know this poem. I’m glad I know it now. It’s a lovely one, perfectly capturing that time between the riotous color of fall and the final bare branches that point toward winter.

    And your photos are delightful. There’s nothing like introducing a new generation to seasonal pleasures, especially when the Autumn Fairy is so cute!

Leave a Reply