The Ghost

SOFTLY as brown-eyed Angels rove

I will return to thy alcove,

And glide upon the night to thee,

Treading the shadows silently.


And I will give to thee, my own,

Kisses as icy as the moon,

And the caresses of a snake

Cold gliding in the thorny brake.


And when returns the livid morn

Thou shalt find all my place forlorn

And chilly, till the falling night.


Others would rule by tenderness

Over thy life and youthfulness,

But I would conquer thee by fright!


~ Charles Baudelaire


"William and Margaret from Percy's 'Reliques of Ancient English Poetry'" by Joseph Wright of Derby, circa 1785

“William and Margaret from Percy’s Reliques of Ancient English Poetry” by Joseph Wright of Derby, circa 1785


Gold of a ripe oat straw, gold of a southwest moon,

Canada-thistle blue and flimmering larkspur blue,

Tomatoes shining in the October sun with red hearts,

Shining five and six in a row on a wooden fence,

Why do you keep wishes on your faces all day long,

Wishes like women with half-forgotten lovers going to new cities?

What is there for you in the birds, the birds, the birds crying down

     on the north wind in September – acres of birds spotting the

     air going south?


Is there something finished?  And some new beginning on the way?


                                                                           ~ Carl Sandburg


"Oat Field" by Karl Nordstrom, 1887

“Oat Field” by Karl Nordstrom, 1887

Autumn Song

Know’st thou not at the fall of the leaf

How the heart feels a languid grief

     Laid on it for a covering,

     And how sleep seems a goodly thing

In Autumn at the fall of the leaf?


And how the swift beat of the brain

Falters because it is in vain,

     In Autumn at the fall of the leaf

     Knowest thou not? and how the chief

Of joys seems – not to suffer pain?


Know’st thou not at the fall of the leaf

How the soul feels like a dried sheaf

     Bound up at length for harvesting,

     And how death seems a comely thing

In Autumn at the fall of the leaf?


         ~ Dante Gabriel Rossetti


"Falling Leaves" by Philip de Laszlo, 1895

“Falling Leaves” by Philip de Laszlo, 1895

StoryQuarterly is currently accepting submissions to its Fourth Annual Fiction Prize.  The winner will receive $1,000, and the first and second runners-up will receive $500 and $250, respectively.  All three winners will be published in StoryQuarterly 48.  The online submission deadline is October 31.

Founded in 1975, StoryQuarterly has been publishing the literary fiction of emerging and established writers for over thirty years.  The journal welcomes short stories, short shorts, novel excerpts, and creative nonfiction up to 6,250 words.  Its contributors’ work has been selected for inclusion in annual collections such as The Prize Stories: The O. Henry Awards, The Pushcart Prize: Best of the Small Presses series, and The Best American Nonrequired Reading anthologies.

For more information about StoryQuarterly and to submit online, visit the website at https://storyquarterly.submittable.com/submit.



The Love of October

A child looking at ruins grows younger

but cold

and wants to wake to a new name

I have been younger in October

than in all the months of spring

walnut and may leaves the color

of shoulders at the end of summer

a month that has been to the mountain

and become light there

the long grass lies pointing uphill

even in death for a reason

that none of us knows

and the wren laughs in the early shade now

come again shining glance in your good time

naked air late morning

my love is for lightness

of touch foot feather

the day is yet one more yellow leaf

and without turning I kiss the light

by an old well on the last of the month

gathering wild rose hips

in the sun.


                   ~ W. S. Merwin


"A Wooded Path in Autumn" by Hans Andersen Brendekilde, 1902

“A Wooded Path in Autumn” by Hans Andersen Brendekilde, 1902

St. Martin’s Summer

As swallows turning backward

When half-way o’er the sea,

At one word’s trumpet summons

They came again to me –

The hopes I had forgotten

Came back again to me.


I know not which to credit,

O lady of my heart!

Your eyes that bade me linger,

Your words that bade us part –

I know not which to credit,

My reason or my heart.


But be my hopes rewarded,

Or be they but in vain,

I have dreamed a golden vision,

I have gathered in the grain –

I have dreamed a golden vision,

I have not lived in vain.


~ Robert Louis Stevenson


In British England, “St. Martin’s Summer” was the term used to refer to the period of sunny, warm weather in autumn, which became known in America as “Indian Summer” in the 20th century. The celebration of St. Martin’s Day is a rural tradition with ancient origins and is observed on either September 29 or November 11.


"Summer of Saint Martin" by John Everett Millais, 1877

“Summer of Saint Martin” by John Everett Millais, 1877

RUMINATE Magazine is accepting entries up to 5,500 words for the William Van Dyke Short Story Prize through the extended deadline of midnight on October 27.  A prize of $1,500 will be awarded to the winner, and both the winning and first runner-up stories will be published in the Spring 2015 issue in March.  The entry fee is $20 and includes a copy of the March issue.  There is no limit on the number of entries per person.  All entrants will be notified about their submission status in early January.

Past winners from RUMINATE Magazine writing contests have been recognized by Poets & Writers magazine and have received notable mention awards in The Best American Short Stories and Best American Essays anthologies.

RUMINATE is a quarterly Christian literary and arts journal of short stories, poetry, creative nonfiction, and visual art that “speaks to the existence of our daily lives while nudging us toward a greater hope.”  For more information or to submit, visit the website at http://www.ruminatemagazine.com/submit/contests/fiction.




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