The Poetry of Ellin Anderson


Ellin Anderson

Let's lean on the pasture gate
Hand in hand, to watch the late
Slanting sunlight melting gold,
Like the wealth of drowsy hives.
There, beside the ripened corn,
Where the fragrant field is shorn,
A second scythe, the kestrel dives,
And in her wake, the day turns cold.

Hear the ragged choir sing,
Sweeter than a night in Spring,
For they know their time draws near.
Just above the spiders' nets
On the rays of purple flowers,
Bees mark out the honey hours.
Thistles are their minarets,
Heralds of the waning year.

Ruby-brilliant, almost cruel
To the eye, a living jewel
Glistens on the dying stalk.
So delectable a hue!
Lovers tangled in sweet hay
Cannot make the summer stay;
Let them tell their passion to
The bone-bleak moon, as pale as chalk.

Oh Death, who dwells within the sheaf,
And animates the trembling leaf
With frosty breath and scarlet fire;    
September's haze like golden dust,
That new-mown field a tasseled pall,
Your mantle hangs upon us all;
The only vow our flesh can trust
Reward of all desire!

2008 by Ellin Anderson. All rights reserved.
No part of this work may be copied or used in any way
without written permission from the author.


Ellin Anderson

I.  The Sky Was Filled With Crows

This morning when I rose,
The sky was filled with crows,
Careening through the iron air
Because they had some business there.
The mobbing of an owl?
The robbing of small fowl?
Some breach of rigid avian laws?
The trees exploded with their caws,
And, taking fright at what they said,
I shuddered, and went back to bed.

II.  Mourning

Brown-garlanded, and bent with grief,
The tree divested, leaf by leaf,
And then unfurled her handkerchief
Of deepest black. It was a crow.
Then came another. Loath to go,
They mourned with her amid the snow.

III.  At Dusk

At dusk, in trying to be brave,
I hummed and walked by many a grave,
And where bright Jordan’s water flows,
I saw a meeting of nine crows.
I asked the augurs, “Has Love died?”
They flew as one. If they had lied,
Instead of lighting where Love slept
In peace, his every promise kept,
I might have sung there as I wept.

IV.  Fledglings

Before he was the Bird of Fear,
That crow was someone’s Baby Dear
Who got his parents out of bed
At dawn, in begging to be fed.
The sable pair, in summer’s heat,
Worked feathers ragged finding meat,
And if you don’t believe it’s true,
Somebody even loved me, too.

© 2015 by Ellin Anderson. All rights reserved.
No part of  this work may be copied or used in any way
without written  permission from the author.



Ellin Anderson

Late in the season, at the close of day,
While heaven’s archer aimed his bow away
From apple trees a frosty harvest drapes
With withered lace, the ruffed grouse ate wild grapes.

Fine feathers sparkled in the golden light
Within, without, that told me of their flight
From ancient days, untroubled by a breeze
Of ice, in times when lizards claimed the trees.

My quiet waterway is not the Styx,
Nor am I old as Archaeopteryx,
But I recalled a touch of Eden’s glow
As grouse ate purple grapes, an age ago.

There in the mercy of the autumn sun,
On winter’s verge, in pause of gale and gun,
Ruffed grouse ate grapes, and knew an hour of peace
Within the music of the southbound geese.

© 2018 by Ellin Anderson. All rights reserved.
No part of  this work may be copied or used in any way
without written  permission from the author.



Ellin Anderson

First, there is news, wind-borne, or on the page:
A stern report, a breeze as hard as flint;
Those who make gardens their contentment’s gauge
Observe the early dusk, and take the hint,
And harvest the late season’s finest fruit:
Sweet yellow corn, tomatoes on the vine;
And cover tender plants where every root
Holds fast to summer, in the mild sunshine
Whose dimming star is just about to turn
The chill of morning to a blackened burn.

Nothing we see or hear reveals the state
Of danger for all life beyond our doors;
Winter and death are at the further gate,
But days are warm, the gentle torrent pours,
Flowers are bright, the birds still feast and sing,
We plan for colder weather when we must —
In forest glades, old shades of green still cling,
Yet over all there hangs a pall of dust
Whose pallor says, “I’m tired, I am spent
Down to the last, for life is only lent.”

A dawn will come when all the dewy grass
Is turned to fairy silver at our feet;
The meadow pond’s a dusty looking-glass
Whose magic of quick change, and of deceit
Is shining for us — capturing blue skies,
It mirrors the last robin’s rapid flight
To milder welcomes, where no warmth belies
The truth of deprivation overnight:
One breath of ashen frost will make us grey
Till glare of snow brings on the brighter day.

© 2019 by Ellin Anderson. All rights reserved.
No part of  this work may be copied or used in any way
without written  permission from the author.

St. Patrick's Day
Tiger and Blue Jewel

Winter's Hill
Maple-Key Song
November in Camelot

Wassail Song
The Rooster at Midsummer
Liberty Enlightens the People

The Leap
The Goldfinch
Three Bears
Song of the Lily
White Tree at Twilight
The Christmas Tree

Grand Bois du Nord
The Owl
Moth Summer
The Little God of Joy
Photographing the Moon
A Rabbit
Rose, Do You Know
The Two Pining Bachelors

The Maple Mask
Ghost Cardinal

The Little Heath-Rose
The Sorcerer's Apprentice
Song for the Harp

The Spinner
The Prayer of Cephalus
Circe and Ulysses
The Black Arts
Tristan and Isolde & Jupiter's Two Casks

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More Poems by Ellin Anderson

The Little Mermaid
Anne's Hearth