Emily Dickinson returned to this poem over the course of nearly twenty-five years. She sent drafts to her sister-in-law, Susan, and to the editor Samuel Bowles, but also retained two copies in her private papers. Newspaper editors added the title “October” when publishing it in 1864.
These are the days when Birds come back –
A very few – a Bird or two,
To take a final look –
These are the days when skies resume
The old – old sophistries of June –
A blue and gold mistake.
Oh fraud that cannot cheat the Bee,
Almost thy plausibility
Induces my belief,
Till ranks of seeds their witness bear,
And swiftly thro' the altered air
Hurries a timid leaf –
Oh Sacrament of summer days!
Oh last Communion in the Haze –
Permit a Child to join –
Thy sacred emblems to partake –
Thy consecrated bread to take –
And thine immortal wine –