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The Leaves Give Thanks

From The Topeka State Journal, October 29, 1912.
By Georgia Wood Pangborn.
 

 All the cheerful little leaves
   Were lying mute and slain,
 Their tender summer faces
   Marred with age and pain.
 Through the threadbare forest
   Strode the wind and rain.
 
 I wept because the sky was gray,
   Because the leaves were dead,
 Because the winter came so fast,
   And summer’s sweet was sped;
 And because I, too, was mortal—
   “All flesh is grass,” I said.
 
 But while I was lamenting
   The woods began to sing.
 The voice of all dead leaves came up
   As when they sang in Spring:
 “Praise God,” they sang, “for Winter
   And stormy harvesting:
 
 “Praise God, who uses old things
   To serve the new things’ need
 And turns us into earth again
   That next year’s roots may feed;
 Roots but for us and our decay
   Would shrivel in the seed.
 
 “To the thousand summers
   Our summer has been thrust,
 But the snow is very gentle
   Above its rags and rust.
 Lie down, lie down, oh, brothers,
   With the thousand summers’ dust.”
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