Wind rolls through these leaves
in long exhalations
as Atlas labors at the wheel that
turns the seasons —
now from the last gleam of summer
into full autumn.
Leaves in maples reflect fires
in the furnace that fuels this
great onward rush
grasses, twigs, and vines
once succulent with the rising
springs of the vernal blush
now grow dry and thin
in the heated languid haste
as Cronos devours what was wrought.
Bees crowd the buds of honeysuckle
entwining the old pine,
collecting all they can carry;
hornets mob a dead bird’s carcass
ravenous before the urge
of their own inward clock;
and two squirrels argue
from opposite sides of the wood
as they bustle through the mass
of detritus, caching winter stores
or up the boles of oaks with
loads of pine-straw to build
with haste a stout shelter
to stand against the coming
autumn winds and winter
hail and rain.
I find myself dizzy
with the intoxication
of aging detritus and orchard fruits
the dazzling kaleidoscopic pin-wheels of
wind-spun autumn leaves
and I feel too far behind in all that must
be done to even begin — so
I wander the woods and the orchard
until a need appears and
with a smile I attend to it,
all the while imbibing the slow
dreams of all that fast approaches sleep.
Above these visions I float
like the moon above the water —
I taste but do not enter the feast.
That doorway has closed for me.
Instead I wander
with a song in silence
as behind me the path blooms
in slow soft flame.