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Tag Archives autumn

ALCHEMY

The cherry’s leaves are gilded now, arranged
fan-like on the lawn, by that perennial
alchemy – no intellect invented –
that turns skyward green leaves to falling gold.

Before the season was named ‘the Autumn’,
it was ‘the Harvest’ and then ‘the Fall’.
The Pilgrims took the last across the sea –
where, from bosky Maine to tinder-dry
Arizona, its melancholy sounds.

A male blackbird with its bright yellow beak,
foraging, flicks the leaves hither and
thither as if they were fools’ gold – humans
being humans,

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AUTUMN

The rising wald is auburn, the lake

so still swans seem painted and the hotel’s lawns

that last, lush green before October dies.

Breakfast is muted. Beyond service doors,

a wireless is switched on. Each swing utters

a broken voice. “Oh Mensch! Gieb Acht!…sorrow

is deep…but joy more profound than the heart’s

agony…” And most of the guests look up

towards sun on the woodlands, the war

and smile. But some, as yet only a few,

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AMBITION

…autumn from the train…empty parks washed

in melancholy greens…slow smoke of leaves…

a Wendy House toppled…motorists,

on an underpass, stopped for the blue flash

of a passing emergency…doctor

and priest jostling beside the newly born

mess of humanity, head ballooning

with water, back cleaved, a tangle of entrails

and heart booming like presses: the measure

of our compassion…hospitals, chapels,

mills aspiring to grey horizons…

from the train, things in themselves – fallen

leaves, a tumbled playhouse…

 

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ONCE UPON A TIME IN AN AVIARY

Under a steel net – sponsored by a multi-

national – in a disused limestone quarry

were all of South Africa’s birds, except

the predators.

 

The black warden softly extolled the aviary’s

human values: calm, peace, gentleness.

How well he knew each of the inhabitants:

who delved, wove, fluttered, chattered, nested,

hatched, fed – and defended abundantly.

 

At home, damp autumn turned to cold winter,

birds pecked at the ice on the stilled fountain

and the coalition of the willing

prepared for war.

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