GBMD: All Saint's Day

Rotary Glade, Westonbirt Arboretum

Why blow'st thou not, thou wintry wind,
Now every leaf is brown and sere,
And idly droops, to thee resigned,
The fading chaplet of the year?
Yet wears the pure aerial sky
Her summer veil, half drawn on high,
Of silvery haze, and dark and still
The shadows sleep on every slanting hill.

How quiet shows the woodland scene!
Each flower and tree, its duty done,
Reposing in decay serene,
like weary men when age is won,
Such calm old age as conscience pure
And self-commanding hearts ensure,
Waiting their summons to the sky,
Content to live, but not afraid to die.

Sure if our eyes were purged to trace
God's unseen armies hovering round,
We should behold by angels' grace
The four strong winds of Heaven fast bound,
Their downward sweep a moment stayed
On ocean cove and forest glade,
Till the last flower of autumn shed
Her funeral odours on her dying bed.

So in Thine awful armoury, Lord,
The lightnings of the judgment-day
Pause yet awhile, in mercy stored,
Till willing hearts wear quite away
Their earthly stains; and spotless shine
On every brow in light divine
The Cross by angel hands impressed,
The seal of glory won and pledge of promised

Little they dream, those haughty souls
Whom empires own with bended knee,
What lowly fate their own controls,
Together linked by Heaven's decree;
-As bloodhounds hush their baying wild
To wanton with some fearless child,
So Famine waits, and War with greedy eyes,
Till some repenting heart be ready for the skies.

Think ye the spires that glow so bright
In front of yonder setting sun,
Stand by their own unshaken might?
No--where th' upholding grace is won,
We dare not ask, nor Heaven would tell,
But sure from many a hidden dell,
From many a rural nook unthought of there,
Rises for that proud world the saints' prevailing prayer.
On, Champions blest, in Jesus' name,
Short be your strife, your triumph full,
Till every heart have caught your flame,
And, lightened of the world's misrule,
Ye soar those elder saints to meet
Gathered long since at Jesus' feet,
No world of passions to destroy,
Your prayers and struggles o'er, your task all praise and joy.

John Keble (1792-1866). A Gloucestershire poet, for a Gloucestershire scene.
Garden Bloggers' Muse Day is hosted by Carolyn Choi at Sweet Home and Garden Chicago.


  1. Definitely a most wintry wind today. Another new to me poet - that's what I like about GBMD :)

  2. Love the poem. If that picture had been taken today, the trees would be bending and there would be leaves everywhere!

  3. Anna - new to me too as I was trying to find something to fit today's date. Then I saw the first verse fitted the Westonbirt scene and the weather we'd been having until yesterday!

    Hermes - I did contemplate taking a contrasting picture from today to post as well. Went outside and nearly got blown away! Inside suddenly seemed much more attractive somehow...

  4. I enjoyed this VP. Just want to mention that your title says GBBD; I think you mean it to say GBMD. Just FYI.

  5. I assume that photo was not taken today! We did have sun and a mild day which was wonderful for getting through some chores, but the landscape is becoming sere and brown. The poem is beautiful. Thank you.

  6. A lovely scene, VP! October has been a rather gloomy month here, but I have high hopes for November--the sun is finally shining! Thanks for the reminder that it is All Saints' Day today, too.

  7. Jan - thanks for lettimg me know :)

    Commonweeder - no it was taken a couple of weeks ago, but I thought the scene fitted the poem well, particularly the first couple of verses. Wet and windy here!

    Rose - we've just had an Indian Summer, but the first of the month has bought in weather moretypical of the season!


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