A Cautionary Tale

Ten foot tall and so polite, (thank you, Lord, for that)
The mammoths could have raised one less-than-dainty foot
and turned their prey to bone meal and a spot of viscera,
the makings of a tasty cake, one might suppose.

Instead they waited patiently for their turn, which
when it came found all the water gone. Their carcasses
lined up as if still waiting for a drink. It could be a myth;
I’m not convinced that George Washington had wooden
teeth, but I concede the possibility. Be that as it may.

I have never heard suggested that our first president
should be reconstituted.  I wish they’d likewise
leave the sleeping mammoth alone. But no,
they’ve thawed his frozen frame and extracted marrow,
mixed it with some fat and bone, perhaps some bat wings.

The truth is little known just what is going on
but mad scientists want to clone the woolly thing,
maybe add a gene to make it perfect in their eyes.
‘Twould be a shame and pity if they succeed
only to have blind justice step up,

scales in hand,
to proclaim the gentle beast
………………..a bit less friendly this time.
It’s scary but I concede the possibility.

Nightfall in an Autumn Field

Seed pods hold the promise
of next year’s crop.
The roots, long reconciled to seasons,
stand steadfast with no thought
of leaving.

The old maple has just begun to turn.
No sprouting sapling,
its branches have held the swing
for generations; ropes wear out
but not so those sturdy limbs.

Clematis wicks the air with sweet perfume
until Jack’s nip turns to lethal bite.
The coleus shivers to a deep maroon –
earth-tones are the fashion now
it seems.

The sun puts in a shorter day.
Twilight, accompanied by cicadas’ trill,
spills across the field pulling a curtain
of silence behind it. Night claims dominion;
all is still.

Considering the Harvest

As shadows slip onto the stage
twilight takes on a greater weight.
It is a treasure earned, if not outright,
then by the treasuring.

We learn early on that golden moments
are fleeting and even then, human,
we learn too late, as if mortal ears
can only hear the bell

once it’s stopped ringing, can only see
the flock as it vees in leaving
and every migration takes
a piece of the heart.

It is not for us to wonder why
we hunger.  The creature comforts
that we crave make great demand.
Yet, we take

without giving until some epiphany
awakens us to truth. Every golden string
of sun , no matter how thin,
has its own tonnage.

The journey that will claim its destination
commands from each  two contributions;
first we learn and then we teach.  First we sow
and then we reap.

 

 

 

There’s More to Cabbage than Slaw

The cabbages have rounded out their dreams
with no thought of castles nor lineage of kings,
no thought of soaring through the sky
on graceful gauzy wings.

Long past tomatoes on the vine and past
the prolific zucchini, those rich green heads
are blessed indeed; they’ve grown faster
than the weeds.

They claim the garden as theirs alone
as they wait to be soup or casserole.
Their talents are many and few are their flaws;
there’s more to cabbage than slaw.

Autumn’s Song

Button mums are blooming;
the morning is golden.
I open an old silverware drawer
to baby spoons
and tarnished monograms.

Vision morphs to memories
of velvet grass born for looks;
no feet dared to touch it.
Dreams never failed me,
only expectations.

If I could pick any life, I’d pick this one.

A Distant Wind

September sun
bronzes limbs in preparation
for the bareness sure to come,
that time between green
and ermine

when, statuesque,
they stand tall in unforgiving
wind, sentinels that buffer
the storm despite
their shivering.

Do trees
know of Stevens?
Do they have a mind of winter;*
Is that what sustains them?
Questions

swirl in unison
with the leaves. Oak and pine,
maple and elm, they watch
their children go. The empty nest
syndrome

is a universal thing.
Each generation prepares
its children for the leaving
with a sure faith in the return
of spring.

There is no need
to mourn
the falling leaves, no need
to dread the winter cold
nor fear the distant wind.

*from  The Snow Man  by Wallace Stevens

Underway

The maple at the end of the lane
has begun to reflect a changing.  Subtle now,
but noticeable, there is a shading toward
a paler green, then a remembering of red
as brilliant as any flame, boisterous but muted
by the tinge of a more mellow maroon.

Calendar pages move at snail’s pace compared
to the turning leaves. Liver spotted yellow wanes
to philomot on the palette of fall. Sepia, demanding
to be seen, adds a vintage tone that mingles well
with the red oak’s russet attire.

Pine and birch and the stately elm, caught
in gossip, rustle as they bend their heads closer
to whisper of whose colors are bolder and who
wears the finest gold.  The stories are old
but not shopworn,

no more so than the nip of wind cavorting
in a madcap dance in step with the swirling leaves .
A matter of days and even the flashiest red
crackles brown in contrast to flamboyant orange
as multitudes of pumpkins delight furrow and field.
Autumn is underway.