The moss comes back, grass
into the rock-hard, sun-burnt earth, as Autumn
tilts us away from warmth,
shivering with universal ice. Skies
unlove us. Winds butcher
the butcher blades on knives. And night
shrinks us stiffly in our skins,
reproaches us with outward-looking stars.
Now, futile enthusiasm and all our known know-hows
and we hunker down clueless,
forgetting to Summer, forgetting to be
something the season is not. Yes, every season
has its own sense of occasion: this one’s
for mood and melancholy,
for shifting outside ourselves a distance
to peer in at what the light years’ light yearning
cobwebs as consciousness
some call “self” — a broken thing
life can’t like — and that others learn not to call,
to go without, to leave be
till wild first flowers come back at the world
and the grass of feelings we no longer inhabit
grows up its vivid signal in us whole.
It’s a pleasure ― a simple vegetable pleasure perhaps ― and a source of contact with the growth Earth is capable of to watch Autumn’s new spinach unfold from this narrow plot of dirt.
The small town brooded.
Even bakeries smelt cold, disinfected,
and the bitumen grey of the footpaths
had taken over the air,
egged on by Autumn (but no one attempted
to take a walk in the sky).
I brooded too as I stood in line
at a post office too defeated to recall
the romance of philately:
it was easier to buy a pink toy camera
than it was a stamp vivid in its own miniature world
and capable of singing imagination
down into our cells.
Elsewhere, paint peeled on a narrow church;
a wind stern in its breadth —
it had looted that from the murdered Summer —
praised its Maker coolly; and a man
jump-started his red car on a hill
as if trying to ignite in the engine of his life
a spark of something to defy the season with,
but as the car started
it was clear both to him and to me
that invading Autumn had conquered again:
all we could do was enlisten.