the scent of night rain lingers on the morning air
mingling with the first fallen leaves
and white blooming autumn clematis clambering
over ledges of stone and fences in decline
resettling the summers meadow into colors
of buff and tan, then flames of sumac spark
stringent sun fades and softened the harsh tones
of late summer drought into early autumn dusk
when the grand harvest moon, oh so far away
graces the sky with her golden beauty
and the crickets sharpen their bows
first song of fall
The west wind furrows the clouds,
mirroring the newly shorn hayfields
terraced in the colors of late summer,
golden and green.
Driving along the ridge, I enter
a Thomas Hart Benton painting
of undulating landscape
and sky. Fluidity of wind
cloud and leaf mural-ed
across the ridge.
May pops bloom wrapped
in vines of autumn clematis
their exotic flowers mingle
along the rocky path. Doe
and her fawn, still in dappled spots,
graze the ditchbanks
along side wild turkeys
with their celtic blue faces.
A day, late in August,
when the earth turns toward
autumn. A day as ordinary
as any other in its vast
extraordinary way, just
an ordinary day.
The rain has put me in a mood;
the kitchen is clean
and there are fresh sheets on the bed;
the dog has had a walk
and down pours;
I have written three letters
and raised the red flag on the mailbox;
I thought about calling
and thought about writing
and thought about shouting
But you left,
now a long time ago;
a year passed and ashes, ashes
we all fell down.
and late summer days
The sharp retort of the jays cries
strike the air,
his grief too much for the cedars to bear.
What greater woe is there
than summers ebb?
Yellowing leaves, spent and melancholy,
as though weeping,
for their passing will soon be forgotten
in winters bare and spare air.
The elegies of wing and wind-
the sighing trees sorrow
in the mourning doves song
of summers passing.
Odd over ripe days of late August-
Heat drifts by in waves to be washed out
In the darkening dusk.
The sultry night cools minute by minute
As the earth tilts towards the autumnal equinox.
We sit on the porch eating peaches,
The last fruit of the orchard
Now swept of debris.
Only the wasps and bees remain
Still searching for that last drop
Of sweet succulent summer.
a man died.
a man I never met
though heard about through the family vine.
their love song, something from a dime store novel,
true love, love at first sight, love that changes things
and they were devoted for five years.
she, his great love
and now he is dead
of a sudden illness
or maybe an old deep sickness that he would have rather
for a decade or two longer.
I am sad for them both
but glad to know their love story
burning bright in the retelling,
enough, I hope,
to keep her warm.
I have promised a long walk,
sitting on the shady porch,
dark against the morning sun,
no sound except the chorus of cicadas
humming at the open windows
their late summer rasps.
Reaching for the blue sky hat on the hook
in sun yellow bedroom
decorated in birds
and their songs of August,
I enter a long ago summer room
layered in chenille bedspreads
and feathered pillows.
The scent of fig and over ripe pears
mixes with must of old paperbacks
and Ivory soap. My grandmother’s face powder
and Pampa’s pipe tobacco mingle together
in such a strong sense memory
that I have to sit down.
That long ago room of Waco childhood
spent lazy and loved, surrounded by
a charm of cousins and beautiful aunts
with handsome, laughing uncles in tow.
It has become gilded and foxed by the years,
not quite fact and not quite fiction.
The small dog breaks into the room
ready for his promised walk
and hat in hand,
we slam the screen door,
trailing the scent of figs
and sun ripened pears behind us.