The First Frost Sweetens

To linger here where time is slow,
To pause in this space just after the first frost
when  everything is sweeter.

To listen to the leaves make madrigals
accompanied by a thrum of wings
ready for migration.

Thinking only of wind and moon
that great gathering has no thought of cold;
they lift their wings and lean into tomorrow.

Guided through the day by sunshine,
they rest in dark of night, blessed
by the benevolence of smaller stars.

The flocks will return come Spring.
Migration is their nature, but I
will linger here  where time is slow.

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?

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

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


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.

Goldfish and Sinusitis

Belly up
is not how it’s supposed to look,
is it?  Eyes glazed, sightless…
What will I tell her?

That nothing is permanent,
that life brings disappointments
even when a goldfish
is the object of affection?

Sparkles has lost his sheen.
Already those opalescent scales
have dulled pale and pasty;
even the special light bulb

cannot make it right.
I will not tell her, not yet.
Instead I make the rounds…
19 pet stores in a 30 mile radius;

surely one will have a double.
Yes!  Sparkles  lives  again.
After all, it is Spring,
a time for miracles
and sinusitis.

The Rose and the Wall

“The Rose that blooms along the wall is a miracle” Thích Nhất Hạnh


The wall is old and crumbling,
Soft loden moss holds it together
but the cracks grow larger,
Soon it will fall.


The season’s last snow
sprinkles white on the moss covered wall
that stands as it’s stood for a hundred years;
it does not rely on my faith to endure.


My face wears the traces
of many frowns, Self-centered
and drowning in sorrow,
I am blind to the sun on the wall.


Just six weeks since snow fell
in April, The earth is splashed
with the sparkle of June, The rose
that blooms along the wall is a miracle.