Autumn Poems

A Collection of Classic and New Poems for the Fall Season

Autumn trees in the misty forest.
Anton Petrus / Getty Images

Autumn can easily inspire poetry. The colorful trees and the harvest are images wordsmiths long to capture in verse. The season is ripe with images that lend themselves to musings about growing older, declining vigor, and the coming of winter. It's a rich season for beauty and an abundance of food, but it heralds the arrival of dark and cold times of hunger and want. An anthology of poems for the fall season begins with a selection of classics.

Autumn Poems from the 17th and 18th Century

True to the trope, Shakespeare muses on the approach of death as presaged by autumn leaves. Romantic poet Blake was more celebratory of the season and its joys of wine and dance.

  • William Shakespeare,​ Sonnet 73 - “That time of year thou mayst in me behold” (1609)
  • William Blake,
    “To Autumn” (1783)

Autumn Poems from the 19th Century

The political and industrial revolutions that marked the 19th century likely had an impact on the poetry written. While Keats and Clare muse on the scenery, Shelley is racked in a lament. The Brownings both take lessons from autumn. Walt Whitman's poems were written during the Civil War and carry in them vivid images from the battlefield.

  • John Keats,
    “To Autumn” (1820)
  • Percy Bysshe Shelley,
    “Ode To the West Wind” (1820)
  • John Clare,
    “Autumn” (1821)
  • Elizabeth Barrett Browning,
    “The Autumn” (1833)
  • Robert Browning,
    “Among the Rocks” (1864)
  • Algernon Charles Swinburne,
    “Hendecasyllabics” (1866)
  • Walt Whitman,
    “A Carol of Harvest for 1867” (1867)
  • Walt Whitman,
    “When I Heard at the Close of the Day” (1867)
  • Walt Whitman,
    “Come Up from the Fields Father” (1867)
  • Dante Gabriel Rossetti,
    “Autumn Song” (1883)
  • Robert Louis Stevenson,
    “Autumn Fires” (1885)

Autumn Poems of the Early 20th Century

Images of nature continue to abound even as the world became more and more urbanized in the 20th century.

The inspirations of autumn continued to be drawn from the changing leaves, migrating birds, the harvest, and cooling weather. Poets are drawn to celebrate the beauty and bounty but also to muse on inevitable loss and death.

  • Trumbull Stickney,
    “Mnemosyne” (1905)
  • T.E. Hulme,
    “Autumn” (1909)
  • Sara Teasdale,
    “September Midnight” (1914)
  • Robert Frost,
    “October” (1915)
  • Robert Frost,
    “My November Guest” (1915)
  • Edna St. Vincent Millay,
    “God’s World” (1917)
  • Gerard Manley Hopkins,
    “Spring and Fall” (1918)
  • Carl Sandburg,
    “Autumn Movement” (1918)
  • William Butler Yeats,
    “The Wild Swans at Coole” (1919)
  • Amy Lowell,
    Two poems entitled “Autumn” (1919)
  • Robert Frost,
    “The Oven Bird” (1920)
  • Adelaide Crapsey,
    “November Night” (1922)
  • Robert Frost,
    “Nothing Gold Can Stay” (1923)

Contemporary Autumn Poems

Today's poets continue to find images and inspiration in fall. You can find most of these poems online. Browse them to see how autumn is being interpreted today in our climate-controlled existence where the supermarkets always have spring and summer produce. Does autumn still bring with it the inevitable images of decline? Or have the seasons been smoothed so we know only the changing of the store displays?

  • Jesse Glass, “Welcome Back, 1964
  • Dorothea Grossman, “In the Library”
  • Mary Hamrick, “Autumn”
  • Ruth Hill, “Autumn Colors in the Far North”
  • Christine Klocek-Lim, “Strange Violet Behind Trees”
  • Judith A. Lawrence, “Autumn Offering”
  • Joseph Pacheco, “November Snow”
  • Jack Peachum, “Our Pierrot in Autumn”
  • Robert Savino, “October’s Opal”
  • Lisa Shields, “Sweater Weather”
  • Michael Shorb, “Geese”

Enjoy these poems of the season.