An Autumn Long Gone ~ a Reverie

An Autumn Long Gone ~ a Reverie  (prose poem)

 

An audio of me reading this prose poem can be heard by clicking the link below. It will take a few seconds for the sound to begin.

 

 

It was the year we lived in London, some 25 years ago, when autumn began like any other autumn. The fall, the changing, the color shifting, the soft breezes, the sporadic thick fog and the leaves dancing, even floating upward at times. What I hadn’t anticipated, being so far north for the first time, was how short the days grew. How dark it became earlier and earlier all during that autumn. The days were ‘closing in.’ That’s what they called it, and I loved that phrase. It brought a certain comfort of pulling heavy curtains closed and shutting out the darkness. It was a time for wearing coats and warm sweaters, and I dressed my son in practical English clothing and soft grey mittens while he ran ahead enjoying what was left of the day. He was only three, but he knew the delight in using what was left of the day’s sunlight. I learned to enjoy the simple pleasures around me that came with this quiet season. Victoria plums were my new delight. They appeared at the Greengrocer’s shop just as autumn set in, later replaced by apples—Bramley and Cox’s Orange Pippins, names that twirled on the tongue and tasted as good. Burning leaves were an unexpected, half-loved sensory pleasure. The smoke was pungent, but it brought back memories of childhood. I loved even the rasp of raking, bamboo or metal combs gathering leaves in sacred piles waiting their turn to be sacrificed in an autumnal pyre. In the English light, I found the colors were softer, quieter than the brilliance of New England woodlands. Each morning I left my son at school and then walked through Hampstead Heath. I found my own favorite route through woods and meadows up to the large ponds. Purchasing a single cup of tea that warmed my hands, I made my way to that empty bench that faced the pond. I thought about all the people it had held before. And every day without fail a lone Scottish piper played his bagpipes as if on cue. Each day I sat and listened. A world so far from my own. From where he stood near the peak of Parliament Hill, the mournful songs became a wordless chanting, charging the air with a lamentation to this closing season, every day briefer, softer than the day before.

Lost in Reverie (c) 2014 by Isotel, The Obvious and Hidden blog on WordPress (with her permission)

Lost in Reverie (c) 2014 by Iosatel, The Obvious and Hidden blog on WordPress (with his permission)

Four Autumn Haiku


Today is the first day of autumn, and for my writing practice in the next few weeks I’ll begin a series of autumn or fall poems. This is my favorite season, my soul season. I’ve done a few different types of haiku ranging from traditional 17 syllables to a poem in a single line. Do you have a favorite?

1.

biting into a Victoria plum, such guilty pleasure

253871

2.

spent blossoms–
the last swallowtail
sips alone

best swallowtail pic

3.

soup 1

the season’s first soup
almost ritually cooked
stirs our senses

4.

sweet windfall apples…
bruised memories
autumn of long ago

fallen apples

Modern English language haiku are not always seventeen syllables. A haiku can be many things, but always it is a brief poem with a strong image that evokes a season and a moment of time captured simply in lyrical language. Scroll to the bottom of today’s blog to find a list of essential qualities of haiku.

The following list from the wonderful journal, Heron’s Nest, lists important qualities that make a haiku.

 Here are some qualities we find essential to haiku:

  • Present moment magnified (immediacy of emotion)
  • Interpenetrating the source of inspiration (no space between observer and observed)
  • Simple, uncomplicated images
  • Common language
  • Finding the extraordinary in “ordinary” things
  • Implication through objective presentation, not explanation: appeal to intuition, not intellect
  • Human presence is fine if presented as an archetypical, harmonious part of nature (human nature should blend in with the rest of nature rather than dominate the forefront)
  • Humor is fine, if in keeping with “karumi” (lightness) – nothing overly clever, cynical, comic, or raucous
  • Musical sensitivity to language (effective use of rhythm and lyricism)
  • Feeling of a particular place within the cycle of seasons

The First Coyote

The First Coyote

Shadowed by trees, it was alert,
Watching those on the porch.
Tall, thin, a knife sharp gaze,
This coyote knew its way around.

The startled man cradled the cat
And called the nervous dogs back
Inside the house, far away from
This lurker in the evening woods.

Was it waiting for a squirrel or
Rabbit? You couldn’t tell this far
Away, yet clearly it was patient
And after tonight’s dinner.

How else could it survive
If not for foraging here and
There, waiting for a quick
Capture, meat for a day or two.

This was the first coyote seen
In the neighborhood, and now
I open the window late at night
To listen to it sing to the moon.

 

Anniversary Poem

Anniversary Poem

~ a poem for RDK on our 36th anniversary   Wedding_rings

Even now I can picture
walking into the old chapel
that September afternoon,
with everyone neatly gathered
and quietly waiting.

Already the sun had turned
its warm autumnal face;
its oblique angle hinting
that change would come.

An infinite circle of gold,
rings delicately engraved
from you to me,
from me to you.
September 3, 1978.

Vows were shared.
Rings exchanged.

Some expected sonnets,
but sonnets were never read.
Our vows were simple,
our love was there.

All we needed was a promise
to love, honor and be there
for one another.

Always.
And we have.