twilight

by Leonard Harmon Robbins

Image: Marc Reed
Image: Marc Reed

Twilight in the trees
        On a still November day,
Twilight in the trees,
        And the world all gray.

Twilight in a life,
        The colors faded and gone,
Twilight in a life,
        And the night comes on.

Leonard Harmon Robbins was a regular contributor of verse to the Newark Evening News. This is from his 1907 compilation Jersey Jingles.

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newark settlers’ thanksgiving hymn

by Frank J. Urquhart

Image: Michael Lenson
Image: Michael Lenson

Here in a pleasant wilderness, Thy children, Lord, abide,
And turn to Thee with thankfulness in this November-tide.
Almighty God, Thy goodness grows
More seemly, as Thou dost expose
Thy purpose to our wondering eyes,
Led hitherward by Thee.

Here by Passaak’s gentle flow our humble homes we rear;
Unchafed by want, unsought by woe, we have no cause for fear.
The painted savage peaceful prowls,
The lurking wolf unheeded growls;
With steadfastness we hold our way
Uplifted, Lord, by Thee.

With pious zeal our task we took, and soon the virgin soil
By coppice edge, by whimpering brook, hath blest our sober toil.
Our log-built homes are filled with store
From fruitful field, from wood and shore;
Our hearts are filled with tuneful joy,
With thankful hymns to Thee.

Frank Urquhart wished to convey the spirit of the early Puritan settlers with these verses, taken from his Short History of Newark.

accretion

by Lynda Hull

Image: Donald Peterson via nj.com
Image: Donald Peterson via nj.com

Consider autumn,
        its violent candling
                of hours: birches

& beach plums flare harsh,
        chrome-yellow, orange,
                the dog zigzags the hillside

tangled with flaming vines
        to the pond below & barks
                at the crows’ reflected flight,

a reverse swimming
        among water lilies, that
                most ancient of flowers

anchored by muscular stems
        in the silt of cries
                & roots, tenacious as the mind’s

common bloom, remembered men
        I have touched at night
                in the room

below the African painter’s
        empty loft, his few abandoned
                canvases, narratives

of drought & famine, of how
        his people, hands linked
                entered the deepest cave,

the unbearable heart
        of belief where each gesture
                encloses the next–clouds

packed densely as ferns, becoming
        coal, the final diamond
                of light, the god’s return

as rain, its soft insistence
        loosening the yellowed hands
                of leaves that settle

at my feet. How expendable
        & necessary this mist
                in my hair, these jewels

beading the dog’s wet coat.
        How small I am
                beneath this vast sway.

“Accretion” appeared in the Fall 1986 issue of Crazyhorse and in Hull’s collection Ghost Money.

chrysanthemum

by Emilie Fichter Cadmus

Image: historypin
Image: Essex County Park System via Historypin

To a Chrysanthemum found standing alone in a November garden

Chrysanthemum beloved,
The earth is bare and cold;
The withered leaves are flying,
And rustling in the mold.
The sunbeams pale are glinting
Through the branches bare and wet,
And resting on thy proud, bright head
As a royal coronet.

Over the frosty meadow
Where it slopes to meet the stream,
The birds are piping sadly—
Perhaps of Spring they dream,
When the young leaves dance to music,
Unknown to frost and cold;
But thou no place for sadness hast,
In thy heart of burnished gold.

Queen of the gorgeous Autumn
Fairer than all the flowers
That fling their perfume to the air
Through summer’s sultry hours—
May we in our Autumn season
Far from our spring removed,
Like thee, all-fearless stand and wait,
Chrysanthemum beloved!

Chrysanthemum displays were a popular autumn event in Branch Brook Park during much of the twentieth century.

Typescripts of this and other poems by Emilie Fichter Cadmus are preserved in the New Jersey Historical Society’s collections.

cobwebs

by George Bancroft Duren

Image: imgur.com
Image: imgur.com

Life is like a cobweb:
And we the spiders toiling at the rapid looms of time,
Weave steadily life’s tapestry with a rich thread of years,
Binding the strands of passing days together as we climb
Up to the cobweb’s summit through the sparkling dew of tears.

So with the spider when October comes,
Turning each green leaf to a rattling husk,
We find the finished cobweb hanging there
Deserted in the melancholy dusk.

Life has its grim October, too,
And when it calls we each must leave behind
The cobweb of whatever life we spun
So those to come may test its mesh and find
Our character by what the loom has done.

Newark News editor George Bancroft Duren included these lines in his 1921 collection Written in Sand.

two elegies for summer

SEPTEMBER

by Emilie Fichter Cadmus

Summer is dying—in the long wet grass
The filmy cobwebs lay:
Time is flying—for the cricket chirped
At the close of the shortening day.
Summer is dying—there’s an Autumn haze
Beyond the sun’s bright sheen;
The wind is sighing—‘tis the voice of Death
That speaks through the waving green.

 

DEATH OF SUMMER

by George Bancroft Duren

Shadows are lengthening across the sky,
And trees have doffed their frocks of youthful green
For robes of richer hue, while in between
The clustered stars an opal moon gleams high
Above the woods where sleeping violets lie
Tucked in their leafy beds; the winds are keen
With earthy smells, and everywhere are seen
The last gifts of a summer soon to die.

Death! Yet how unlike other ends this one.
With tenderness old summer decks each tree
In brightest raiment, and with fragrant breath,
Whispering softly that her life is done,
She gently falls asleep: we hardly see
That she has gone, so beautiful her death.

wading
Image: New Jersey State Library

Manuscripts of verses by Emilie Fichter Cadmus and her daughter Mildred Cadmus Childs are preserved in the collections of the New Jersey Historical Society.

The sonnet by Newark Evening News editor George Bancroft Duren was included in his 1921 collection Written in Sand.