Fall-Inspired Poems to Help You Accept Change
As you say goodbye to summer and welcome in fall, you might be preparing for or pondering on change. From cooler temperatures to new school years, beginning the transitional season means change is on the brain. When life changes and you, in turn, grow, these differences can be challenging to embrace. You might miss previous relationships, places you lived, or characteristics you once embodied. But change is an inevitable consequence of living, and the more you learn to accept this truth, the more content you’ll be.
Accepting change takes time and often occurs in stages. To support you on this journey, we’ve chosen three autumn-inspired and insightful poems about change. This fall, read these pieces when you’re searching for motivation and encouragement.
“Song for Autumn” by Mary Oliver
Mary Oliver, widely regarded as one of the most prolific and insightful nature poets, paints a vivid picture of the transition between fall and winter in “Song for Autumn.” Oliver’s signature use of detailed imagery effectively draws in the reader, capturing your attention from beginning to end. By anthropomorphizing leaves and trees in the poem’s first stanza, Oliver communicates that change is a natural, emotional, and dynamic process. The poet also illustrates how these natural elements long for what comes next, which might encourage you to embrace instead of resist change.
Don’t you imagine the leaves dream now
how comfortable it will be to touch
the earth instead of the
nothingness of the air and the endless
freshets of wind? And don’t you think
the trees, especially those with
mossy hollows, are beginning to look for
the fires that will come—six, a dozen—to sleep
inside their bodies? And don’t you hear
the goldenrod whispering goodbye,
the everlasting being crowned with the first
tuffets of snow? The pond
stiffens and the white field over which
the fox runs so quickly brings out
its long blue shadows. The wind wags
its many tails. And in the evening
the piled firewood shifts a little,
longing to be on its way.
“l(a (A Leaf Falls with Loneliness)” by e.e. cummings
e.e. cummings’ keen ability to experiment with grammar and structure is encapsulated in “l(a (A Leaf Falls with Loneliness),” a brief but evocative poem. By stating “a leaf falls” in parentheses after the first “l” of “loneliness,” cummings is clearly exploring feelings of loneliness that often accompany change. The leaf, once among other similar leaves, attached securely to a common branch on a common tree, a strong foundation, falls alone.
Perhaps you’ve left home and struggled with new distance between you and your support system. As you’ve changed, you’ve likely outgrown relationships that were central to your development. These universal experiences are perfectly captured in cummings’ “l(a (A Leaf Falls with Loneliness).”
“Late October” by Maya Angelou
The iconic Maya Angelou explores change in her poem “Late October.” In the poem’s first stanza, Angelou employs rich imagery, illustrating seasonal transitions in nature that occur during late October, emphasizing that change is a natural part of life. At the end of “Late October,” Angelou poignantly states “/ that we begin to stop when we begin again /”. This evocative statement allows the reader to consider how an ending simply makes space for a new beginning. In difficult moments, remind yourself of this quote to shift your perspective on change.
the leaves of autumn
sprinkle down the tinny
sound of little dyings
and skies sated
of ruddy sunsets
of roseate dawns
roil ceaselessly in
cobweb greys and turn
see the fall
a signal end to endings
a gruffish gesture alerting
those who will not be alarmed
that we begin to stop
in order to begin