The last sweetness

by Jennifer on September 15, 2009

cornfieldYesterday, at the end of a short nap, I had a dream that I was driving on a street, somewhere else, somewhere the grass was green and the leaves had taken on the vibrant colors of the new season. When I pulled up to the curb and rolled down the window, the air was full of that damp, leafy, earthy, autumn scent.

I miss that so much. Autumn is my favorite season, and the air is never like that here in Arizona. As though the earth is taking it all back, with color and chill and that loamy smell in the air as an apology.

Would someone please bottle it and send it to me?

I’m sure I posted this last year, but it’s one of my favorites. And well, Rilke. It’s always a good time to read his words.

Fall Day

Lord, it is time. This was a very big summer.
Lay your shadows over the sundial,
and let the winds loose on the fields.

Command the last fruits to be full;
give them two more sunny days,
urge them on to fulfillment and throw
the last sweetness into the heavy wine.

Who has no house now, will never build one.
Whoever is alone now, will long remain so,
Will watch, read, write long letters
and will wander in the streets, here and there
restlessly, when the leaves blow.

Rainer Maria Rilke, trans. by Larry Hauser and Barbara Abbott

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Madge September 15, 2009 at 10:22 am

I love Rilke and it seems to me like lately you have been doing some of your best writing.


jessica September 15, 2009 at 10:37 am

I’m going to NYC at the end of the month and I can’t wait. I just love Autumn on the East Coast


jenrantsraves September 15, 2009 at 10:57 am

I complain about where I live all the time, but that is one thing I would miss if I moved – the smell of autumn.


tysdaddy September 15, 2009 at 11:13 am

I’ll send you some Fall air via UPS. In a jar . . .

Hang in there.


Daryl September 15, 2009 at 11:51 am

I would happily trade the cool for a small last blast of summer ..


Smalltown Mom September 15, 2009 at 12:33 pm



flutter September 15, 2009 at 5:06 pm


love you


Ree September 15, 2009 at 7:02 pm

The Midwest seems to be having summer in September, but when it gets here, I’ll make sure to send you some. To tide you over until you get here.


the mama bird diaries September 15, 2009 at 8:28 pm

i’ll give you my fall if you’ll give me your winter. deal?


Green Girl in Wisconsin September 16, 2009 at 10:32 am

Yeah, I love the smell of fall, too. A blessing about living in Wisconsin.


phd in yogurtry September 17, 2009 at 6:26 am

I very much miss the scents and scenes you describe. I’m an east coast girl who stifles in the pseudo-fall that is the best Texas can do. I love the poem. Thanks for posting it.


Jeanette September 17, 2009 at 9:45 pm

You live in Arizona, you write like that and you quote me some Rilke?? Be still my heart, I think I’m in love.


anymommy September 20, 2009 at 9:05 am

I do love fall, but my dreaded winter is right around the corner.


Larry Hauser September 25, 2009 at 2:15 pm

Actually these are not Rilke’s words … those were German. This translation is by Larry Hauser (me: I was ego surfing) & Barbara Abbott (my wife: she actually speaks German: I was poetry consultant). There are other translations online … thanks for using ours (the best, IMO).
In a similar vein I recommend


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