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October 20, 2012

I’m always struck by things that mark the passage of time, the cyclical nature of it.  Perhaps it is a universal human interest, built into us, and the changing seasons are a way of observing, of celebrating it.  The year turns, summer has been fulfilled, leaves begin to turn from thoughts of green.  Mostly the weather begins to cool.  Days grow shorter, so nights lengthen.

Halloween is almost here; we’re well into autumn.  Actually, while I always think fall begins after labor day, it’s about three weeks into September before the season is official.  In this first poem, written when I lived in Southern California in Simi Valley, the kids had gone back to school, and I’m thinking it’s fall. But…


September days here mimic summer.
Heat steamrollers smog into sunburned hills.
Every evening the weatherman predicts
cooler temperatures are coming soon;
the day time highs will dip into the 90’s.
For now the heat continues, even the nights
are warm. I send the children off to school
in shorts, envy Steve his air conditioned office.
It is so bad some days I have to stop
writing in the early afternoon; I am afraid
it will damage my computer to leave it on.
I daydream, memory walking to school on
bright, cool mornings. You’d make sure
we were wearing a sweater, but we’d forget
to bring them home in the warm afternoons.

Here the afternoon light is too bright to do
the season justice, and days are still too long.
I can’t seem to get it in my mind that it really
is fall and the next letter you send will lace
the news of neighbors, kids I grew up with
asking after me in the supermarket,
with how the leaves are beginning to turn
and some friends of yours have offered to take
you on a long Sunday ride to see the colors.
Between the lines, I’ll read of frost, chilly nights,
your first sighting of cardinals at the feeder.

*****          *****          *****          *****

This is a poem that begs to be read aloud!  I enjoy reading it, I think the drama of it matches the autumn moon.  When is the moon more beautiful?  When does it seem closer, larger?


Kissing the eastern edge of Earth
You pumpkin Moon
big and round rising full
You copper coin
shining from the early velvet between
the blue and black of
night descending
stars somewhere above
cold and sharp
but You turning gold
soften night’s first thoughts
blur the edge of darkness
You charm Your way into minds
dive deeper into midnight oceans
frost dreams in thoughts of silver
oh You heart dancer
playing silvered shadows against
the fleshless bones of November trees
You Goddess of the hunt
riding the night skies
Goddess of the echo lit dark
You beckon tides to follow
even wolves are called to song
You drag me across your
reigning hours until Dawn spreads
freedom with her rosy hues
dissolves Your silver chains
snares cast of moonbeam spells

*****          *****          *****

So, days shorten and nights lengthen as autumn advances.  While that fact is not specifically mentioned in the following poem, I hope the feeling of it catches you softly.


in this place of night falling
mist in the trees
gathering darkness
light diminishes
the arms of evening reach
across the fields
sing lullaby…hush…
all secrets are safe here
among the purple ashes
now sky-flames
are extinguished

only the soft warm glow
out from muted windows
murmurs a quiet, simple melody
a refrain of hearth, of home

*****    *****    *****

Here in Humboldt County, as in most of coastal California, rain is rare in the summer.  Usually it begins to rain in late September or in October, but sometimes most of October (or more) will go by before we have a rain storm.  Then we begin to worry, and I look for this poem, which I read aloud as a sort of a prayer for rain.  I love it when it works!

Rain! Come
dance your poetry upon my roof
water music
full of laughter bubbling.

I wait for your lullaby,
inhale the scent of damp earth,
air heavy with the hope of an impending storm,
note a hint of wood smoke
that lingers about the edges of the eaves
from the fire banked in the stove.
My love and I are wrapped together
in our bed
a cozy nest to pass the sleeping hours
drifting along the night stream
where dreams carry us across the dark.
But l linger in wakefulness
waiting for your company,
the accompaniment of your
water music, poetry
full of laughter
dance upon my roof.

***     ***    ***    ***

I love falling asleep to the rain.  In our house, the bedroom windows look out on the roof, the rain falling from the upper part of the roof onto the section below, makes a lovely, soporific effect.  And it can be even more enticing on a chilly gray morning.


Rain on the roof,
soft stacato sounds
a background beat as
the phoebe calls
long sweet whistles
repeats it’s name

sings variations:
feee-be, fee-be-be
fee-be, fee-be, fee-be
in quick sucession.

So much morning music.
I want to stay in bed
pull the warm covers up
to ward off the encroaching
rainy-gray-day light;
let this symphony
lull me back into dreams.

But my love already has
left our cozy nest.
It is a weekday;
there are things to do;
always things to do.

I have no time
to lie here;
no time to listen,
no time for enchantment,
to enjoy
this early morning rain.

*****       *****       *****

Now that I’ve lulled you toward heavy lidded longing for a comfortable place to nap on a rainy day, here’s something careening off in another direction.

This poem came from a list the leader/moderator of our Wednesday night poetry group (workshop) sent out on a Tuesday, reminding us of the next evening.  I had been playing with the idea of a poetic self portrait, and looking at the list of words, everything fell into place.  I can’t say if I used all the words on her list, but most of them found their way into this poem.


here among the ruined vines
squash once grew prolifically
and beans bore scarlet blossom

curves suggest abundance
the remains of an opulent banquet
toothsome extravagance
on the canvas
the shadow of a crow
dark as the glaze of death
with its eerie caw
gravelly logic that rattles in the throat
maiden          mother           crone
a cycle that continues
no matter that the foolishness
of youth remains
a bright mirror in the heart
no matter that the memory holds
the joy of those precious
babes to breast
in the background
the winter woman beckons
whispering words which might
hold wisdom
what alternative is there
but to accept this harvest

*****      *****      *****

This poem came to me nearly complete one evening as the wood stove was beginning to give off heat.  It was no doubt farther into fall than October, and after I wrote it down, I thought that Virginia Anderson, who was publishing a small press magazine called Daybreak would enjoy it.  She did, and published it.


The bones are restless.
They do not so much rattle
as complain,
twitch and groan
call for fire and wrappings:
It is the end of the year.
The days are short, nights long;
who knows if the sun will return.
The wind talks incessantly,
pokes at every slumbering form
prys about the edges
natters at odd fringes.

Listen, the bones say,
Do you hear that?

It gives us the willies,
they tell me, while goose flesh
pops along my arms.
Put another log on the fire.
Stoke it up.
Pull the shades and
fasten the shutters.
Lets have a bit of fat for supper;
we want to get warm.

*****       *****       *****
And this one is for Halloween, a bit of fun, I hope.  But even fun may hold a note of something darker.

black cats
witches hats
are you scared yet?

rattle of bones
broomsticks across the moon
are you scared yet?

candle glow
lights the faces
of grinning empty pumpkin heads
no, you’re not scared yet
you whistle past the grinning skull
dress your children in costumes
send them down the street
begging for sweets or other treats
nothing to be scared of

you’ve made it a child’s game
a friendly night, a foolish night
nothing frightful in any of that!
why would you be scared now?

you’ve painted the opening door
in black and orange
shrouded it with spider webs
run about shouting BOO-O-O
so you won’t hear
the hinges creak
so much glitz, so much  noise
who could be scared now?
but nothing you do will banish death
the night is winning and
winter is coming
winter is coming
tell me you’re not afraid now.

*****        *****       ******

And finally, for my husband, a fall poem.  I might mention that oxytocin is a hormone that helps a mother and new baby bond, as it is released during childbirth and breast feeding.  But it is also sometimes referred to as the “love hormone” because it plays a part in the pair bonding of two people.  Apparently it is why some little mammals mate for life.


High on chocolate
devils food cake with
mocha frosting
On sunshine
fresh fall day
spent in the garden
On oxytocin
your skin
your lips
On time spent lingering
in bed
all morning
On memories we share
the future we plan
That first cup of coffee
books    poems
snuggling back into sleep
dreams of chocolate
twining with plans   memories
starsmoons  morningmist
bright afternoon
brisk fall day.

^^^     ^^^     ^^^     ^^^     ^^^



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One Comment
  1. steve permalink

    keep sharing, i enjoy them all…..

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