(Editor’s Note: The family of Carl J. Nelson (1915-2015) has given permission to Middle Wisconsin to reprint his poetry here. Carl Nelson was a farmer, logger, producer of strawberries and raspberries, philosopher, Quaker, a poet and a pastor.)


These are golden days,

Summer has spent its intensity of purpose,

and September brings a welcome release.


Goldenrod warm the fallow fields and road sides,

Trees appear disheveled and worn

with leaves beginning to mellow.

Even the relentless blue of the sky

is softened with haze.

Smoke obscures

the outline of the hills.


The sun has tempered the heat of its rays;

The wind is subdued;

waves have quieted to shimmers.


The cornucopia of nature overflows.


Milkweed seeds on silken sails

hitchhike with the wind;

Crickets punctuate drowsy sentences of silence;

Gold mellows all the landscape.


There will be a beauty in my life too,

When I relent from driving purposes.

Ardor and gentleness

cannot play upon my face at once,

And lines of hard intent must curve

for friendliness to flicker at the corners of my mouth.


Let me catch the spirit of these autumn days

for I have need to mellow with the season.