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

to black

for comfort.


Only lovers

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