quotations about leaves
Each particle of matter is an immensity, each leaf a world, each insect an inexplicable compendium.
JOHANN CASPAR LAVATER, Physiognomy
We take it for granted that plants have green leaves for photosynthesis, but green vegetation may be a reflection of the solar spectrum on the Earth. Our sun is a G-class (yellow) star, which emits a peak spectrum in the visual range. Additionally, the Earth's atmosphere has a significant effect on the light reaching the ground, making it ideal for plants to absorb in blue or red. What if we discover a habitable planet around a different star? NASA and CalTech have already looked into this possibility. On a planet orbiting an F-class (yellow-white) star, which is somewhat hotter than the sun, photosynthesis will most likely concentrate on blue and green wavelengths, because that's where the energy peak will be. Leaves there will reflect mostly in yellow, orange, and red. It would be "fall" year-round, at least based on the coloration of Earth's vegetation.
STEVEN SPENCE, "Autumn Leaves: Last, Loveliest Smile", Got Science, October 27, 2015
So bright in death I used to say,
So beautiful through frost and cold!
A lovelier thing I know to-day,
The leaf is growing old,
And wears in grace of duty done,
The gold and scarlet of the sun.
MARGARET ELIZABETH SANGSTER, "A Maple Leaf"
The dead leaves their rich mosaics
Of olive and gold and brown
Had laid on the rain-wet pavements,
Through all the embowered town.
SAMUEL LONGFELLOW, "November"
Happy, happy, happy for all that God hath done,
Glad of all the little leaves dancing in the sun.
ALFRED NOYES, Drake: An English Epic
Autumn flings her fiery cloak over the sumac, beech and oak.
SUSAN LENDROTH, Ocean Wide, Ocean Deep
The leaves do not change color from the blighting touch of the frost, but from the process of natural decay. They fall when the fruit has been ripened and their work is done. And their splendid change of coloring is but their graceful and beautiful surrender of life, when they have finished their summer offering of service to God and man.
TRYON EDWARDS, Light for the Day
I saw the sunlight in a leafy place,
Bathing itself in liquid green and amber--
Where every flower had tears hid in its petals,
And every leaf was lovely with the rain.
ERNEST RHYS, "April Romance", The Leaf Burners and Other Poems
As fall the light autumnal leaves, one still the other following, till the bough strews all its honors on the earth below.
DANTE ALIGHIERI, The Vision; or Hell, Purgatory, and Paradise
The woods are hush'd, their music is no more;
The leaf is dead, the yearning past away;
New leaf, new life--the days of frost are o'er;
New life, new love, to suit the newer day:
New loves are sweet as those that went before:
Free love--free field--we love but while we may.
ALFRED TENNYSON, Idylls of the King
Where is the pride of Summer--the green prime--
The many, many leaves all twinkling?--three
On the mossed elm; three on the naked lime
Trembling--and one upon the old oak tree!
Where is the Dryad's immortality?
THOMAS HOOD, "Ode--Autumn"
The foliage has been losing its freshness through the month of August, and here and there a yellow leaf shows itself like the first gray hair amidst the locks of a beauty who has seen one season too many.
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES, "The Seasons", Pages from An Old Volume: A Collection of Essays
Ah, the pretty whisperers! It was very well
When the leaves were thick and green, awhile ago--
Leaves are secret-keepers; but since the last leaf fell
There is nothing hidden from the eyes below.
SUSAN COOLIDGE, "Secrets", Verses
And the wind is rising squally and loud
With many a stormy token--
Playing a wild funereal air,
Through the branches bleak, bereaved, and bare,
To the dead leaves dancing here and there.
THOMAS HOOD, "The Forge", Poems of Wit and Humour
So, just for one more merry day
To the great Tree the leaflets clung,
Frolicked and danced and had their way,
Upon the autumn breezes swung.
SUSAN COOLIDGE, "How the Leaves Came Down", Verses
O see yon lovely aspen-tree,
Now trembling in its pride,
Its bright leaves dancing gracefully,
As restless as the tide.
SAMUEL GASQUOINE, Kilda's Bridal: A Tale of the Western Isles and Other Poems
One of the great lessons the fall of the leaf teaches, is this: do your work well and then be ready to depart when God shall call.
TRYON EDWARDS, Light for the Day
Autumn is a season of desperate hopes. The leaves are souls begging to turn life on pause. Begging to stop, begging to take a break, hiding under smiles and childish words.
TEODORA SAVU, Listen to the Leaves
What whispers so strange at the hour of midnight,
From the aspen leaves trembling so wildly?
Why in the lone wood sings it sad, when the bright
Full moon beams upon it so mildly?
B. S. INGEMANN, "The Aspen"
Do you know why the leaves change colour?... Before a tree sheds a leaf it pumps it full of all the poison it can't rid itself of otherwise. That red there--that's a man's skin blotching with burst veins after an assassin spikes his last meal with roto-weed. The poison spreading through him before he dies.
MARK LAWRENCE, Emperor of Thorns