Tag Archives: leaves

October 22 [Book of October]

October 22

Morning after the rain the creek
Brags its long story.

The breeze picks up
The chatter of leaves.

The maple shrugs about it
But in months to come it will

Shoulder a strongman’s
Burden of snow and ice.

My children race around
The trunk chasing the leaves that

whittle the air unpredictably
On their way to the ground

Sketching out for them their
Invisible future

One day they too will fall
Away from the family tree

Who will be running to catch
Them I wonder

from Spring Songs (12)

from Spring Songs (12)

12.

Midnight. In a corner of a room
a few days away, a half century crouches.

In the dark the corners of the years round up
certainty into the smooth black mast

against which direction flaps without words,
a trunk removed from its roots.

In the morning it is the maple and its shadow
unwinding along riverways of air and light.

The maple is old but the leaves always young,
the hours of the year, the half million

minutes through which we extend and end,
define the canopy of entirety itself by the shape

of what we miss. We shed time but are shaped by it;
wine on a quiet night, before crickets.

springsong12_2

Wind Intervals

Wind Intervals

 

In a space under trees I can hear the wind that is not here
like a can kicked across the street by a boy still coming

or as if the act of the boy shaping his mouth to shout
made a sound before the sound of the shout

What is the word that I hear before the trees
above me shake and give the wind a momentary word

What is the sound of a loosening of leaves
like forgetting hands just before they drop

to our sides? The interval of apprehension.
The time we are alive. The boy stepping up the curb.

Time difference, breezy day

Time difference, breezy day

 

Shadows on the sidewalk of leaves in motion
above me are like the shadows of flames

the leaves are burning but the burn is slower it is a burn
we can inhabit or control  are the leaves our days

how can we see it in the leaves still green and flexible
how can we see the beginning and end of it all in the shadows

how does the time difference work is it the same
when I send out words to you here in my midsummer

why do I feel the entirety of me burning

Still Life, Evening with Leaves and Blinding Light

leaves in floodlight

Still Life, Evening with Leaves and Blinding Light

 

The leaves were not laughing at me
(I could read their minds by floodlight)

In that perfect increment of night
when I loved the moment enough

For it to be my last they did not laugh
when I decreed it irreversible

In the barrel of empty air afloat
on the last black wave taking root

the leaves
did not laugh at me that

laughter was my own  (by
floodlight they can read my mind)

Drop Everything

Drop Everything

An old white ash in the backyard of the abandoned house next door. It was a dry, cold, still day, weeks after the maple and walnut trees around it had lost their leaves but this tree still had hundreds which had not fallen, very large leaves bigger than your hands. I was out in my backyard with the dogs. With no cause such as a gust of wind and in the space of a few minutes, almost all the leaves of the ash tree fell to the ground. They were dry but heavy and dropped straight down like a bundle of mail or a suitcase, without the ceremony of wafting or drifting. As if the tree had just gotten the worst news in the world, perhaps that another tree it loved on the other side of the world had died, and dropped everything about itself onto its home’s floor that morning upon receiving the news. It was over in a hundred seconds. If I had not seen it I never would have noticed, or I would have noticed and not believed that something so sudden could have happened and thought simply Oh the ash tree finally lost its leaves while I was not paying attention. Not as if everything in the world had suddenly changed for it. In fact afterwards the tree essentially looked the same to me. I stood there a bit stunned  watching those leaves fall,  and then awhile longer watching the tree, still standing there, anticipating that it might shrug or even uproot itself and go marching off toward the mountain, but it looked unchanged to the rest of the world just as perhaps the rest of the world was now entirely foreign to it, and I remained there as rooted as anything in the yard, realizing how little we witness any of these moments in others, feeling that somewhere around the corner is a phone call or a letter or a conversation where we’ll each know exactly what it’s like to be that tree, and have the same chance to stay, rooted in what we most deeply are, unchanged to others even while dropping everything.