The Fading Season

                            

                            The fading season —
                            when all the trees have darkened
                            but before the snow —
                            I build a fire in the grate
                            and find that unfinished book.

 

                                    The new morning chill
                                    draws me to the coffee pot.
                                    The fire still has warmth.
                                    Today’s sky is bright and clear,
                                    best spent walking the canyon.

 

                                            A fresh breeze picks up.
                                            Fallen leaves drift in the current
                                            like fishing boats
                                            heading out to fill their nets.
                                            They sail past the green heron.

 

                                                    The November night
                                                    dark and calm — not yet freezing.
                                                    The Leonids pass
                                                    flashing and fading in streaks
                                                    of yellow among the stars.

 

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I Know Why The Caged Bird Doesn't Sing

 

 

 

'I thought how unpleasant it is to be locked out; and I thought how it is worse, perhaps, to be locked in.'

Virginia Woolf

 

 

I know why the caged bird doesn't sing

And why God-given feather falls in spring

The ruthless month bespeaks regeneration

And flight from climes that temper inspiration

To climes where climbs the stallion sun

Envoy of death-blows dealt and done

Vaulting the hurdle of the season

Whilst overruling rhyme and reason

Reckless florescence bursts its stays

And bears blind seed of future days

Rain-sown in heat and glorious folly

Oblivious of winter's volley

For Sibylline November wreathes

The Hope that free midsummer breathes

It mulches cankered autumn sepal

Reveals the worm within the apple.

 

In gilded prison with wings pent

The linnet mourns his element

Preserved from naked thorn and frost

Whilst honeyed halcyon days are lost

Spent life can yield – the seasons show it

But the caged bird can never know it.

 

 

 

and yet...

 

'FROM my spirit’s gray defeat,

From my pulse’s flagging beat,

From my hopes that turned to sand

Sifting through my close-clenched hand,

From my own fault’s slavery,         5

If I can sing, I still am free.

 

For with my singing I can make

A refuge for my spirit’s sake,

A house of shining words, to be

My fragile immortality.'

 

Sara Teasdale

 

 

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A rickety bridge

A slow sway pinches out a crying creak. It wavers and reverberates, motions in the belly as a slug of up and down. Yet there’s no whiff of breeze on a night where exposed roots choked by moss and lichen, and blades of grass tinged in dew sing in choral frets.

A stench of heavy fog squalls in as dense cumulonimbus clouds brimming in thunderstorms, lightning and intense, heavy rains, smothering everything two steps ahead. The way forward is only over worn, wooden slats of the narrow platform that vanishes into grey. Tattered, thin ropes tied to the platform and knotted for something to hold onto appear as mystical fraying fibres that float into that same invisible. Clutching them gives little confidence of their stability and peering into the nothing below that merges into the nothing above, spins that motion in the belly to groggy vertigo.

But in that empty unknown of underneath is a concealment that whispers magnitudinous esoteric breath. It’s there, somewhere, intentionally unseen but fused in super powers of nourishment and cherish.

Darkness becomes darker, a blackness of dull dread smothers the light of the moon. What it cannot do though, is hinder the fullness of energy from the orb of night that governs tides and emotion. It penetrates that dull of dread as the sun penetrates to suckle the earth.

Now to move, begin crossing these lopsided slats of old, no matter their dilapidated state or the huge holes in between. Move. There’s magic on the other side of the unknown. Trusting in that magic is imperative. One step forward, use the trembling to shift from a cement that’s cured beyond its use by date, beyond the malignant.

Such effort, such force needed when no force can be found. War drums hum stories of dire.

Breathe deep. Tune into those ropes and staunch buttresses standing quiet and resolute beneath. They’re there, powerful and strong as boulders rooted deep in love and care. Boulders of black and white … this is how it is. Boulders of nurture and coaching … you’ve got this, I’ve got you. Boulders stark with no qualms of question, all netted in silken thread studded in diamond particles.

A fibrous strand can sometimes loosen and the sway of the bridge swings to groans of pitching pain. Unicorns flounce and battle narwals in pristine points, ferrets flop up and down by the magic of a wand, round and round, tails curling over heads amongst schools of frenzy scattering at the circling of ominous danger, blurring all sight with a mass of silver-laced bubbles zapped by glints of moonlight … despairing gasps, desperate grasps … pushing through catches breath upon breath.

Breathe, draw from those stands of buttresses below when no sight can be seen.

Another breath. The bridge begins to steady. It’s now or never for that first heave of foot forward. Go. In shaking shimmy, the bridge steadies. The safety nets await amongst fairy flutters and flickers, regardless of how long or short the drop below might be.

A step forward and the tilt is greater than imagined, propels to clasp for ropes to stop from going over. Palms burn. Concentrated effort in the bracing for stability detracts from the alert needed of the gaping gaps. Sigh.

A glance behind to caressing fog, a sensuous tingle. The beginning’s obscured, gone. Silence blusters within the squeaks and groans. Moving forward is ominous and one foot steals the next step in quivering shiver without thinking or effort, without control. Dolphins battle lions battle sparrows on mass. There’s no turning back.

Knowing those quiet supports surround, even in the dreams of the gone, can prompt forward movement. Trust in the magic one cannot see or understand is all that can be and there comes a point where only doing will suffice and belief in the doing becomes the only way forward.

And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it. ~ Roald Dahl

 

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Finally Fall Coloration

Although I had admired a lovely large tree across our lake with yellow leaves for a couple of weeks, I kept wanting to see some reds and bright orange colors. Other trees in our yard and those across the fields were mostly still green. I remember when we used to be able to count on bright-hued leaves by the middle of October, and I noticed the last couple of years that was no longer true. I thought maybe it was just our region, and then I read that autumn coloration is arriving later elsewhere also. But finally a week ago, I looked out the kitchen patio door towards the lake to see the maple Gerald planted in the yard when we moved here, and it was at last a brilliant red. On beyond the maple was a Bradford pear tree Gerald planted that was now lovely with deep wine leaves. Rains and winds came, and the maple looks all snaggly now with half its red leaves on the ground, but it had brought me a proper measure of pleasure before that happened. I drove through that blinding rain to Katherine's one night; and driving home later after the rain stopped, the blacktop road glistened with red and orange fallen leaves shining in my headlights. Even better, a breeze would ever so often blow more leaves down to shower me with additional loveliness in my car lights.

Although the maple is worst for the wind's wear, the pear tree with its crown of wine leaves is still there to please my eyes. The trees in the woods across hills and meadows surrounding us have gradually turned from green to mostly brown. If we were able to walk under them, I expect there might be some brown leaves to shuffle through; but like our pear, these trees seem to be clinging onto their leaves for a bit longer. As much as I enjoy the coloration, I am also fond of the beauty of bare stark branches, which I've always associated with November. Maybe now with global warming, those bare branches will wait to decorate the sky until the latter part of November.

Our son-in-law finished his harvest over a week ago before that heavy rain came, and we are grateful for his good crops and a completed harvest. With memories of the fortunately rare years when weather made harvest impossible until after Thanksgiving or even Christmas, there is always a certain anxiety until the crops are in. Perhaps our worst year was the one when Gerald was still combining in late February after he had made a trip to northern Michigan to buy tracks for the combine. Horror stories of farmers' combines stuck in mad that year stick in our memories making an early harvest that much sweeter.

My summer was full of tests that mostly turned out good. (A false positive on a sonogram necessitated an angiogram, so I was grateful for that good report.) Now I am finally able to have time to start physical therapy tomorrow to improve my balance. One morning last summer I woke up to find that the arthritis and other problems in my right knee were joined by arthritis and tendinitis in my left foot, and that day I had to start using a cane to walk safely. Those pains have mostly subsided on their own, but I still need that cane when I am away from the house. Nevertheless, I am looking forward to walking better yet after physical therapy.

I also tire easily, and it has been necessary for me to realize that I cannot go to town and complete four or five errands in a half day as I have done all my life. Such adjustments do not come easy for me. Gerald helps me more than he ever needed to in the past when he was working 12 hour days or longer. I think his gardening is over for this year; we ate the last tomato from the fridge two days ago. I failed to wrap up any green ones in newspaper to use on Thanksgiving Day as I often have in the past. Yet now he is busy doing such things as replacing 16-year-old faucets or putting back up the large wire shelf in the garage, which I've used for a clothes line when clothes come out of the drier. (We learned there is a limit to how much weight that long wire shelf could take when he washed and dried a summer-full of shirts worn for only an hour or two, and I suggested hanging them there temporarily before they went back in the closet. When Gerald walked out the next morning, the shelf was down and the shirts were on the garage floor. So I have now taken off that wire shelf the antique shoe last that belonged to my father. Daddy used to have it secured on a stand in our basement in Jonesboro, and he sometimes put half soles on our shoes when they wore out. I like to think he inherited the last from his father, but I don't know that. It is small to fit inside the shoe, but very heavy since it is made of iron.  I like seeing it and holding it and thinking of my father, but I think it is probably time to give it to a local museum.)

Gerald received a phone call from his Union County friend Irma Dell Eudy Elkins telling him of yet another death of a high school classmate. I had a small grade school class, and five of my closest friends have been dead for a few years now. They did not live close enough to see them often, but I miss knowing they are out there with their minds holding many of the same memories I have. And I miss not hearing from them at Christmas--or at all. I do not consider death the end, but losing people from your life here on earth is a natural part of growing older. Frequent deaths are to be expected at our age just as leaves fall off trees as winter approaches. What happened in Las Vegas and Sutherland Springs, Texas, is not a normal or expected occurrence, and we Americans must determine to put an end to it. Such massacres are not occurring in Japan or European countries, and we have a responsibility to stop them here. I liked seeing a post from one of Katherine's friends down in Nashville. Her photo showed a handful of postal card messages to congress. That is a small action any of us could do.

 

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First Song

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To that which moves, to that which moves, 

        Which penetrates the universal shine

        And shimmy, Roundabout, where other isn’t

Within, without, non-centric circle thing,

      All light that which in most the light begins

      Nor knows, nor can, who descant;

Because in drawing near to what is dear

      Our swallowy mind perspires and jealous folds

      Into itself where memory cannot go.

Truly whatever the realm holistic

     Powerful treasures, body and mind,

    Mind of which I thee sing.

Apollo, creed of the living

    Vessel me in thy talented power

     Bower of joy and sound!

One sum, it adds up to nought,

    For me for you for both

    Swim to the center and cry.

If you can imagine, you, and breathe

     In deepest drawing scent

    While I watch in awe and innocence.

Ten cents a dance, the best

  That I can do, shadow of the realm

  Stamped in my brain, blessed, so what.

Once there was a tree and a crown

  Underneath it all and nevertheless leaves,

  Which shall you choose, O!

So seldom, Father, so seldom, do we,

  But we try, we have to try and

  of human inspiration can we?

So back to the leaves and so forth,

  They fall all over the crown,

  Where is it I say? I say

But no one answers. Maybe better voices,

  better voices after me, after me.

  Alleluia. Please respond!

 

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Latest Comments

Monika Schott A rickety bridge
18 November 2017
Thanks, Di.
Diane Rampertshammer A rickety bridge
17 November 2017
Pure poetry - very evocative - you are a painter with words..Di
Ken Hartke Lamenting the Lost Art of Conversation
12 November 2017
Thanks for the comments. Rosy -- I look at this sort of social conversation as a healthful thing for...
Rosy Cole First Song
12 November 2017
This is almost like a memory of birth, reviving those sensations, but translated in imagistic terms....
Rosy Cole Lamenting the Lost Art of Conversation
12 November 2017
Oh Ken, how rare that is! A gift. What a lovely sojourn in the byways and an unexpected exchange of ...

Latest Blogs

                                                         The fading season —                             when all the trees have darkened           ...
      'I thought how unpleasant it is to be locked out; and I thought how it is worse, perhaps, to be locked in.' Virginia Woolf     I know w...
A slow sway pinches out a crying creak. It wavers and reverberates, motions in the belly as a slug of up and down. Yet there’s no whiff of breeze on...
Although I had admired a lovely large tree across our lake with yellow leaves for a couple of weeks, I kept wanting to see some reds and bright orange...
                To that which moves, to that which moves,          Which penetrates the universal shine         And shimmy, Roundabout, wh...