How One Winter Came In The Lake Region

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For weeks and weeks the autumn world stood still,
  Clothed in the shadow of a smoky haze;
  The fields were dead, the wind had lost its will,
  And all the lands were hushed by wood and hill,
  In those grey, withered days.
  Behind a mist the blear sun rose and set,
  At night the moon would nestle in a cloud;
  The fisherman, a ghost, did cast his net;
  The lake its shores forgot to chafe and fret,
  And hushed its caverns loud.

  Far in the smoky woods the birds were mute,
  Save that from blackened tree a jay would scream,
  Or far in swamps the lizard's lonesome lute
  Would pipe in thirst, or by some gnarlèd root
  The tree-toad trilled his dream.

  From day to day still hushed the season's mood,
  The streams stayed in their runnels shrunk and dry;
  Suns rose aghast by wave and shore and wood,
  And all the world, with ominous silence, stood
  In weird expectancy:

  When one strange night the sun like blood went down,
  Flooding the heavens in a ruddy hue;
  Red grew the lake, the sere fields parched and brown,
  Red grew the marshes where the creeks stole down,
  But never a wind-breath blew.

  That night I felt the winter in my veins,
  A joyous tremor of the icy glow;
  And woke to hear the north's wild vibrant strains,
  While far and wide, by withered woods and plains,
  Fast fell the driving snow.

© William Wilfred Campbell