She loved the Autumn, I the Spring,
Sad all the songs she loved to sing;
And in her face was strangely set
Some great inherited regret.
Some look in all things made her sigh,
Yea! Sad to her the morning sky;
‘So sad! So sad its beauty seems’–
I hear her say it still in dreams.
But when the day grew grey and old,
And rising stars shine strange and cold,
Then only in her face I saw
A mystic glee, a joyous awe.
Spirit of Sadness, in the spheres
Is there an end to mortal tears?
Or is there still in those great eyes
That look of lonely hills and skies?
~ Robert Louis Stevenson
As a poet, I’m often asked to recite my poetry, but I always find that this poem—The Spirit of Sadness—unintentionally rolls off my lips.
I memorized Robert Louis Stevenson’s words on the sleeve of my heart for a poetry assignment in high school just as I entered my Gothic phase, dying my light brown hair to midnight black.
Years later, my hair is its natural color with a few strands of wavy silver (reflecting my small bits of wisdom), and I am still drawn to this poem, especially with the coming Autumn Equinox.
I am pulled into the beauty of the world as it slows down, oaks and maples brightly proclaiming that they are happy to shake off the old leaves just as we do the same with our habits, making space for the winter’s pause.
In these moments of cooler evenings when the stars shine brighter, I encourage you to take pen to paper, and find your mystic glee and joyous awe. Create poetry that you’ll learn by heart, and share in the seasons to come.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Editor: Renée Picard