7 Meditations on Autumn


I
Sunrise is the best;  the hot pink hues
Illumine crispy autumn mornings.
The frost coats swathes of garden grass
In rough hewn patches of fast fading white.
My wispy grey-white beard still fails
To cover where  the surgically stretched scar
Crosses my throat.  Autumn’s warnings.

II
Today the rampant hedgerows
Protecting  little birds through summertime
Succumb to coughing, rasping trim 
While I have strength sufficient still to prune. 
Hungry sparrows soon consume
Fat balls and suet cake in refilled
Wild bird feeders dangling 
Off the telephone pole.  It’s autumn
Outside our kitchen window.


III
Tomorrow willow whips will fall
As secateurs  bite sharply through tough bark.
Autumn planting in the boggy bit; pale 
Cylinders translucent and stout bamboo stakes
May keep them safe from grazing predators.
Bright rose hips catch the eye like rubies
Strewn across a lawn in sparkling dew
A bank of treasure offered up for winter.

IV
No conflagration of the season
Like Guy Fawkes fires, yearly planned,
Is scheduled in this autumn of our lives.
And nor can we prepare ourselves for a
Michael Fish storm shaking all the apples down
That isn’t meant to be.  
Honking geese sweep by southwards
Exclaiming as they chase their next
Adventure. The Grey Lags may yet stop 
Off in our field to rest a quiet afternoon.

V
A pleasant task still haunts my autumn thoughts:
What shall I diarise today, having written
Already ten months of fond musings? 
Reflecting that we falter too,  together,
Running out of time and clinging tight.
Stubborn tomatoes that won’t be ripe 
Before they freeze.   But meanwhile,  life!
Slowly, steadily, the hot tub
Temperature rises in the cold enclosing dusk
Until the smells of  softwood smoke
Entice a soak beneath the stark 
Star-spattered sky.
Constellations far above our heads while
The station twirls in space and other
Satellites and planets twinkle like 
Family,  beneath a shining Milky Way.


VI
The rites of one year’s passage in a village life; 
To be noted and notated.   First snow on Killhope.
Cobbles sorted out in Allendale Town square.
The butcher shop is closed again, another
Pub has shut for good.  Spirits oddly  high.
It’s been, still is,  a huge, climactic year.  And too
Sometimes a friendly comment, a point of view
Will penetrate the autumn’s mists and fogs
Of endless entries on this public  road of days

And I will smile.


VII
Getting on for seventy —Oh man! 
That I had treasured
The many leaves of spring
Emerging like  green jewels after  rising sap
As I value the last two russet wisps
Clinging on to  autumn’s red bare branches.
Going, not yet gone.

2 Comments

  1. If anyone has savoured life to the full, in all its offerings, joys and challenges, it’s you, Larry. Look back, and on, with awe. Thank you for sharing your autumn reverie.

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