Yesterday we hosted a day here entitled ‘Living the Lessons of Autumn’. We tried to get under the skin of the season and to feel how the season works it way under our defenses. The mist sat in the valley all day and added a deep quiet and stillness to our reveries. Below is my poem from my first collection – The Call of the Unwritten. It charts the way autumn enters the psyche (soul) and both consciously and unconsciously, even subliminally shapes us.
The day and the poem are an attempt to make conscious what is under the surface. This process is transformational as it makes us participants and not sufferers. Often, too, we bury the gold of the season by way of inattention, too busy to stop and hold the richness of the reddening leaves and their glorious falling, to harvest all that has been planted in the high days of summer. This is my attempt at such consciousness, perhaps you could share yours too.
October is such an untidy month;
the leaves fall quicker than I can
sweep them, and my gutters are
crammed with their moldy corpses.
The mizzle the wind spills over
the eve’s edge makes the stones
of my home clammy. The clocks
have made their yearly march
back to winter quarters, and the
dogs’ paws mark a muddy muddle
on my kitchen floor. It is a time for
writing, for decanting the juices
that have fermented all summer.
But I am so distressed by the length
of each night and the bleak looks the
leaf dropping beeches give me when I
pass them in the valley, that I fear to sit
at my table and face the vacuity of the page.
I feel so personally the inborn
demise confided to me by the
dying wasp or the departing swallow;
that I can only write the grubby cantos
of autumn bonfires, whose smoke
curls and fades in the misty air.
These wisps of disconsolation
are a fleeting eulogy to falling,
a carol to the withering season.
From the Call of the Unwritten