Autumn is not autumn without a visit to Wallace Stevens. I do not know exactly what the following poem "means." Perhaps it has something to do with autumn being both an end and a beginning, and having at its heart both an emptiness and a fullness. Whoa! That's way too high-falutin'. Let's just say that it sounds lovely.
And consider this: the poem is three poems in one. The first poem consists of the first line of each stanza; the second poem consists of the second and third lines of each stanza; the third poem consists of all three lines of each stanza. Think of it as something like a round in music: "Row, Row, Row Your Boat" or "Frere Jacques."
Then again, it may simply be about the walks that Stevens often took around Elizabeth Park in Hartford, Connecticut. The park has a duck pond.
The Hermitage at the Center
The leaves on the macadam make a noise --
How soft the grass on which the desired
Reclines in the temperature of heaven --
Like tales that were told the day before yesterday --
Sleek in a natural nakedness,
She attends the tintinnabula --
And the wind sways like a great thing tottering --
Of birds called up by more than the sun,
Birds of more wit, that substitute --
Which suddenly is all dissolved and gone --
Their intelligible twittering
For unintelligible thought.
And yet this end and this beginning are one,
And one last look at the ducks is a look
At lucent children round her in a ring.
Wallace Stevens, The Rock (1954), in Collected Poetry and Prose (The Library of America 1997).
A comment on "one last look at the ducks" (line 14): a "last look" because the ducks are about to fly south for the winter, yes; but it should also be noted that Stevens wrote the poem when he was in his mid-seventies, within the last year or so of his life.