A Poem For October, From 1908

Shutterstock / SakSa © poem

It’s already been a year since I was in “The People’s Friend” Archives, researching a story which we hoped might be the next in our “Classics Collection”.

Once or twice a week, I’d pop up to our Kingsway office, and the team would have bound folders of old issues ready .

With material going all the way back to our launch in 1869, the old issues need to be handled carefully. We have acid-free paper “bookmarks”, gloves for turning the pages – and the issues themselves sit on cushions to protect the binding.

For the second story in the collection, we settled on “The Inheritance”, an Annie S. Swan story, which originally ran in “The People’s Friend” in 1908.

Annie was a prolific “Friend” contributor, and her writing career spanned 70 years.

This reflective little poem about October comes from a 1908 edition of the “Friend” which featured an instalment of “The Inheritance”. 

Hope you enjoy it.

October, by Walter C. Howden

A dull, drab brown is your morning gown,

And an outlook, sad and sober,

But by afternoon, you outrival June,

In the colours you wear, October.

A grey mist shadows your noontide skies,

And grey gulls plaint their mourning,

But O, the gleam in your opal eyes,

When your sunset fires are burning!


Not half so gay as your sister May,

Nor lap so full as September,

You still have an aftermath that they

With joy would fain remember;

What beauty untold you have and hold

In the autumn’s pageant’s splendour,

In the beeches’ russet, the birches’ gold,

In the motley the brackens lend her!


A late blush rose will its sweets disclose

At touch of your wooing finger;

For you the Michaelmas daisies pose,

And for you the asters linger.

And ever there lies in your opal skies,

When the sunset gate uncloses,

The light that shone in remembered eyes,

And the sheen of the fadeless roses.

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Lucy Crichton

Fiction Editor Lucy is always on the look-out for the very best short stories, poems and pocket novels. As well as sourcing enjoyable content, she enjoys working with our established contributors, encouraging new talent, and celebrating 155 years of 'Friend' fiction!