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Posts Tagged ‘autumn’

The willows beside the river

are practicing how to let go—

they lose the bright red hue

of their skin and their leaves

turn brittle and brown.

It would be easy to think

they were dead if all I did

was pass them by. But

bend one willow, and it’s clear

how alive they still are,

flexible and sincere.

How little rest I allow myself.

I insist on my own evergreen.

How much could I learn

from November’s willows

that take a break from living?

I listen, as if the willows

might offer a teaching.

I listen until it dawns in me,

that the quiet

is the teaching.

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Making Applesauce

To buy three boxes of apples

is to believe the world

will go on long enough

that we should preserve

the goodness of autumn.

Perhaps it is practical

to cook the fruit,

to store it in jars,

but I prefer to think of it

as hope filling the house

with its sweet red perfume,

hope filling the shelves

with the memory

of sunshine, of bloom.

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… by and by, nor spare a sigh, though worlds of wanwood leafmeal lie, and yet you will weep, and know why

            —Gerard Manley Hopkins, “Spring and Fall, To a Young Child”

The whole time I ran the lawnmower

through brown cottonwood leaves,

I recited Gerard Manley Hopkins

and waded in intricate cross tied rhymes

that defied the straight green paths

I was making. I hope Gerard doesn’t think it rude

I call him by his first name when I talk to him,

as I often do when walking alone.

He never speaks back, but I’d like to think

I’m better at listening for him.

As today when I repeated again his words

about worlds of wanwood leafmeal,

I swear he rose up

in the dry-honey scent of leaf dust

as if to say, this, this, this.

And while I pushed the red Toro

across the leaf-spangled lawn,

I thrilled to know the world as poem,

to know the ambush of tears as tiny wet poems

to know myself as a tired and ecstatic poem

while all around me the leaves continued to fall.

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Student

The river in autumn

is clear enough

to see the trout

who swim

in the deeper pools.

There are many ways

to speak.

This is one.

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Now dried and brown

the cinquefoil where once

bees danced in gold flowers—

 

recalibrating the heart

to find in brittle clusters

another invitation to dance.

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One Unbaptized

 

 

filled with golden leaves,

the pond, and shimmering with sky

and me, too dry, too dry

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That time of year thou mayst in me behold …. Bare ruined choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.

            William Shakespeare, Sonnet 73

And though the leaves may fall and molder,

though the winter nights get colder,

and though, my love, we both grow older,

may the choir in me that sings for you

be ever clear and ever blue—

the stream beneath your red canoe.

And though it seems that time’s a thief

and leaf subsides to crumbled leaf

and though the days are gnawed by grief,

may I sing for you forever sweet

in tunes both tame and indiscreet—

sing bare, unruined, my heart, my beat.

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Autumn Beside the River

 

 

 

The rocks that were underwater

two months ago are dry now,

and a woman can sit on them

beneath the bridge and escape

the September sun. But she can’t

escape herself. There was a time

she really believed she could control things.

Now she sits with her own brokenness

and invites the inevitable autumn into her,

the autumn that’s already come.

Invites the lengthening nights. Invites

the dank scent of the garden, moldering and dead.

Invites the loss of green. You can’t be

a sapling forever, she tells herself,

though another part of her argues,

Yes you can, yes you can.

 

The river has never been so clear—

every rock in the bed is visible now,

and perhaps clarity is one of autumn’s best gifts.

She imagines the leaves of her falling off—

how she loves them.

She imagines them golden in the wind.

 

 

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I watched it happen, the confrontation.

The one who was hurt and the one

with no inkling that harm had been done,

and my heart ached for both of them—

for all of us really—all of us fragile, all of us

witless, all of us longing to love, to be loved

for being ourselves.

 

Outside the window, the leaves

were brilliantly dying, burning auburn,

vermillion, a heart swelling show

of what it is we’ve come here to do—

to give our all and give some more,

to do it unreservedly.

 

It’s all a series of repetition, design—

the leaves, the fall, the hurt, the blame,

the confusion, the reconciliation.

It’s all a matter of pattern and letting

go, letting go of whatever we think we know

about how to give.

 

What I’m trying to say is if I have hurt you,

I’m sorry. I don’t understand my own thorns.

I think I am singing and it comes out crooked.

I think I’m supporting and it comes out cage.

There are so many mistakes in my blood,

all of them believing they’re butterflies.

 

My friend tells me the leaves in fall

are returning to their true colors—

how the necessary chlorophyll disguises

what’s really inside.

 

What I’m trying to say is look at the leaves

outside the window, see how vibrant they are?

I am trying to love like that,

every day, the colors more true.

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Today I woke in the dark and was busy

making lunches during the sunrise,

though surely it happened. And I drove

 

in the low morning light along

the San Miguel River for half an hour,

not once noticing the color of the water,

 

the scent on the banks, though past

experience leads me to believe

that there were thousands, millions,

 

of tiny beautiful miracles happening

there in that half hour alone. How much

beauty is lost on me every day, every moment?

 

Though as I stepped out of the car

to walk into work, I saw, stuck to my boot, one

brilliant orange aspen leaf outlined in gold,

 

and for a whole minute, I stared at it,

marveled at its symmetrical veins,

its delicate stem, the astonishing intricacy

 

of its edges. How easily gloriousness finds us, sticks

to us even. How wholly available, this art

of meeting the glittering, luminous world.

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