In celebration of and consternation with the holiday, here’s a sonnet from Edna St. Vincent Millay’s final collection of poetry, Mine the Harvest, published posthumously in 1954.
Tranquility at length when autumn comes,
Will lie upon the spirit like that haze
Touching far islands on fine autumn days
With tenderest blue, like bloom on purple plums;
Harvest will ring, but not as summer hums,
With noisy enterprise–to broaden, raise,
Proceed, proclaim, establish: autumn stays
The marching year one moment; stills the drums.
Then sits the insistent cricket in the grass;
But on the gravel crawls the chilly bee;
And all is over that could come to pass
Last year; excepting this: the mind is free
One moment, to compute, refute, amass,
catalogue, question, contemplate, and see.