Poetry Sunday: October by Paul Dunbar

Can it really be October already? It scarcely seems possible and yet here we are. In places that have trees that actually change color at this time of year, it is probably more evident. Around here, the trees are mostly still green and the temperatures still flirt with the 90 degrees F every day. And yet... 

There is that perceptible change in the air, especially in the early morning and late afternoon. It's highly unlikely that frost will "turn her auburn locks to gray" around here in October; that's her specialty a bit farther north. But we can feel a welcome change nevertheless and there is a rumor that winter is coming. 


by Paul Dunbar

October is the treasurer of the year,
And all the months pay bounty to her store;
The fields and orchards still their tribute bear,
And fill her brimming coffers more and more.
But she, with youthful lavishness,
Spends all her wealth in gaudy dress,
And decks herself in garments bold
Of scarlet, purple, red, and gold.
She heedeth not how swift the hours fly,
But smiles and sings her happy life along;
She only sees above a shining sky;
She only hears the breezes' voice in song.
Her garments trail the woodlands through,
And gather pearls of early dew
That sparkle, till the roguish Sun
Creeps up and steals them every one.
But what cares she that jewels should be lost,
When all of Nature's bounteous wealth is hers?
Though princely fortunes may have been their cost,
Not one regret her calm demeanor stirs.
Whole-hearted, happy, careless, free,
She lives her life out joyously,
Nor cares when Frost stalks o'er her way
And turns her auburn locks to gray.


  1. Yes, the trees are assuming their fall mantle of scarlet and gold around here, and by the end of the month most of the trees will be bare. Happens every year!

  2. How lovely! I do love the month of October.

  3. Winter is no rumor around here. All the signs abound in nature. The seasons are changing. Lovely poem.

    1. Dunbar really did have a talent for poems about Nature.

  4. Paul Laurence Dunbar is a great poet. My sixth graders loved presenting his poem, "We Wear the Mask."

    1. He was indeed a great poet, as well as a talented writer of other types of literary works.


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