It matters, I believe, that we remember
these moments of beauty, that we impress
them into our souls. And not only the sight
of them and their fragrance and sounds,
but the way they touched a deeper truth
within us. And it is that which is important
for us to recall—the way they sang to us
of the Yes from which they arose,
and us with them, in a mystery surpassing
computation and beyond all time.
A host of lore abounds
telling how your coat,
dear wooly bear, predicts
what winter will hold.
The greater the brown,
the milder the season;
an abundance of black
means plenty of snow.
Here’s what I know:
You’re a sure sign
that winter is next,
and we would be wise
to follow your lead
and don thick woolies
of our own.
The mornings are filled with fog now
as if the earth were filling her bowls
with some luminescent porridge
to help the sun ward off the autumn chill.
It softens our wakings, letting us linger
in the world of wispy dreams a while
before the illusions of the day solidify
around us, pulling us once more
into the stories of the plays
that are our lives. The orange
of the remaining maple leaves
dance in the filtered light, bright
reminders that we may play
As many leaves have fallen
as still cling to the trees.
I am lost in a world of them,
remembering their first green whisperings
as they peaked from their buds, so shy,
and then how they unfurled so joyfully
against the spring skies. They were
the canopy of summer, spreading emerald
everywhere, soothing us with shade,
passing along the secrets of the breeze.
And now, here they are, holding the last gold
of autumn even as they fall to the earth
below to return to the Mother, to feed her
with their bodies as their spirits ascend,
singing and fulfilled.
There, at the edge of the woods,
a chorus of trees stands singing
in tongues of gold, the grace notes
of their song raining down
in shimmering sheets of color
and dancing on the branches
like tiny bells caught in a trance
Having spent its flamboyance,
autumn settles down, its colors
deepening as if to lead us gently
into the season of rest. It takes on
a hush now. Leaves fall in earnest.
Shadows are low and long. The calls
of crows replace the songbirds’ chorus.
In the fields, the corn stands ready
for harvest. It’s all a great turning,
a time for tallying up the year’s yield,
for taking measure of what’s been achieved,
for wrapping up the final tasks before
the cold comes and the snow.
Oh, the rhythms of the seasons play,
each perfect in its own way, each
a cause for celebration and for dancing
with the Great Yes.
It’s like this now, like living
in a bowl of golden light.
And all you can do is walk
in wonder, knowing, truly
knowing, what it is to feel
Rain fell today. The last time
it rained, the maple was still green.
Then, day by day, the tree transformed
into a bouquet of crimson and scarlet
so vivid against the azure sky
that I couldn’t imagine a scene
more intense. But today it rained,
and I stood at the window stunned
and staring in awe at the wet limbs
and polished leaves, streaming
their colors across the day as if
it was the first day that color
ever touched the world.
Some little flowers, having no calendars
to go by, just keep on keeping on. They have
their own rhythms and reasons and rules.
They dance to their own songs. And
thank God for that. I mean, just when
we thought the flowers were gone,
here they are, stepping onto the stage
singing. Right here, smack dab in the middle
I see. Your sonnets tell the depth
of your history, a lineage stretching back
into the mists of time, your ancestors
coal now. And more recently,
the joyous verses sing, how you burst
fresh and green from tight buds
and how you spent the summer
singing with the hundred birds
before you followed them
into the sky and then falling, here,
to the breast of Mother Earth,
surrendering yourselves to her
in this one, last gift of beauty.
And all the days between
the bursting and the fall,
your lines reveal, were rich
and full beyond all expectations.
I see. Here in your lines and colors
I read your song. And I am
blessed. Rest well.