Autumn Poems

Autumn is an incredibly common topic in poetry. It is often used as a symbol of change and transformation. Events that take place in autumn have special importance in many poems, signifying a major shift.

As the season wedged between the polar opposites of summer and winter, autumn, or fall, is a time when the life that flourished in summer is dying and the winter beauty is just beginning. Many autumn poems mourn the loss of summer and contrast the warmer season with fall colors. Others present autumn as a much-need respite from the heat of summer.

Autumn may be used in poetry less as an indicator of the actual season and more as a way for a poet to share an experience. For example, exploring death, the end of relationships, strained family connections, job changes, and more against the backdrop of autumn. It’s possible to see poems of all styles and time periods inspired by autumn as a topic or metaphor.


Gathering Leaves

by Robert Frost

‘Gathering Leaves’ is a profound poem that delves into the themes of man versus nature, productivity, and change.

The season during which the leaves fall and die is significant for Frost, as it has many symbolic meanings. Above all, it embodies the changeability of nature and highlights the seemingly paradoxical fact that nature can change before out eyes while remaining the same.


by Elizabeth Alexander

‘Equinox’ by Elizabeth Alexander is a heartfelt poem about death and how all living things are forced to contend with it. The speaker uses a creative metaphor comparing bees on the equinox to her grandmother. 

This poem takes place in autumn, specifically during the autumn equinox, when the bees start to act chaotically and confusingly. But, to the speaker, their movements have a very obvious explanation that also has to do with the season.

A Renewal

by James Merrill

‘A Renewal’ by James Merrill describes the plight of a speaker who tries to end a relationship but, as soon as they successfully do so, our struck by a violent resurgence of the same love that they had lost.

A Sheep Fair

by Thomas Hardy

‘A Sheep Fair’ is a solemn look at one day of country life, at the autumn fair, as sheep, the auctioneer, and the buyers contend with torrential rain.

Autumn Song

by Dante Gabriel Rossetti

‘Autumn Song’ by Dante Gabriel Rossetti describes the pains experienced by nature at the end of autumn and how these pains are translated to humankind.

Autumn Valentine

by Dorothy Parker

‘Autumn Valentine’ by Dorothy Parker reveals two moments in the scope of the narrator’s pain — one when the pain was new and one when it had endured for a time in the shadows.

Beautiful Old Age

by D.H. Lawrence

Beautiful Old Age is a poem in which Lawrence imagines a world in which old age is truly revered and hoped for, & describes what that world would feel like.


by Seamus Heaney

‘Exposure’ by Seamus Heaney discusses the poet’s role in a society and how he might contribute helpfully to the discourse of the time. 

Going for Water

by Robert Frost

‘Going for Water’ by Robert Frost depicts a simple errand in joyful, uplifting language. The poem suggests that any task, no matter how annoying, can be enjoyed if one is outside. 

Love and a Question

by Robert Frost

‘Love and a Question’ by Robert Frost is a curious poem in which a couple encounters a stranger. It brings up questions of what’s right and wrong, what’s too selfish, and what’s simply common sense.


by Elizabeth Drew Barstow Stoddard

‘November’ by Elizabeth Drew Barstow Stoddard describes the emotions a speaker feels in regards to the coming of autumn and the ending of the year.

Something Told the Wild Geese

by Rachel Field

‘Something Told the Wild Geese’ by Rachel Field discusses geese, and other animals, reactions to signs of winter. The poem takes place in summer and warns against being unprepared and dwelling on unhappiness. 


by Robert Hass

Robert Hass’s ‘Song’  is filled with the colors of autumn. It is about a pensive speaker’s afternoon cooking session.

Song of the Flower

by Kahlil Gibran

‘Song of the Flower’ by Khalil Gibran describes what the life of a flower involves, from sunrises and weddings to perpetual optimism. 

Spring and Fall

by Gerard Manley Hopkins

‘Spring and Fall’ by Gerard Manley Hopkins uses a unique rhyme scheme and the concept of nature’s demise as a representation of something much deeper.

Tall Ambrosia

by Henry David Thoreau

’Tall Ambrosia’ by Henry David Thoreau is a beautiful depiction of the joy one can take from the natural world, specifically in a field of ambrosia.

The Harvest Moon

by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

‘The Harvest Moon’ by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow describes the way that the light of the harvest moon touches everything. It is an indication that fall is here and that winter is on its way. 

The Road Not Taken

by Robert Frost

Robert Frost’s ‘The Road Not Taken’ is about the choices and opportunities in life. The poem highlights the sensation of regret that accompanies all the roads that a person doesn’t take.

To Autumn

by John Keats

‘To Autumn’ is one of Keats’ most sensual, image-laden poems. It is a sumptuous description of the season of autumn.

Under the Harvest Moon

by Carl Sandburg

‘Under the Harvest Moon’ by Carl Sandburg compares autumn and summer in ways to represent people in two different periods of life.

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