Auguries of True Autumn

Autumn scene of cattle drinking from the Saco River, Maine, painted by Albert Bierstadt, ca. 1858.

Auguries of True Autumn

If you listen
from beneath deep-night’s blanket of darkest blue
you’ll hear the moon croon,
the tenderest of lullabies
for the lonely awake in quiet rooms

where she can silver-slide
through window cracks, and guide with wider-glow
the owls and foxes, and the bats–
though soon they’ll go.

If you listen,
you will hear the tree roots slow their growing
as they drop rubies from their crowns,
and bury seeds to sleep till spring, these sounds

just barely perceptible, perhaps sensed in dream-showings
like scenes from a book you’re not sure you’ve read,
but somehow find yourself knowing, this thread
of what will be—you’ll see

in the morning’s leafy rustle
and the geese’ fast honking bustle,
you’ll recognize your dream vision,
whether wanted or unbidden,

that now the leaves are turning scarlet and gold
competing with the dawn,
more than augury, no longer foretold–
autumn is here, summer has gone.

This poem is a collaboration between the Oracle, Derrick Knight, and me. I took the title, minus an article, from one of Derrick’s blog posts.

September Says

Mary Hiester Reid, A Garden in September

September Says (in memoriam)

it follows, but perhaps it leads—
a season beneath a season,

the after-summer
and before fall tumbles into darkness.

Now shadows dance in spotlights,
and green branches are tipped with gold,

gardens are filled with flowers that know
the secrets of bees–

wisely they shake heads dyed indigo, gold,
and scarlet—it is a bird Eden, a squirrel pantry–

and if the river asks,
you breath in its blue mystery,

taste its layers, as it unfolds time
like a peony, seed to dust again and again.

My poem from the Oracle, who knows everything. She knows how beautiful September is right now in my part of the world. She also must know that yesterday I heard from my cousins that their mother, my aunt (my mother’s sister-in-law) had died the night before. It made me think about how my mom had died in April when the sky was also bright blue, and the spring flowers were blooming. So, this is not exactly a tribute to my aunt—but in her memory, a reflection of sorts on life and death and beauty.

In a Song Never His (Revised)

In a song never his

In the bird world,
in songs not his own,
in squirrel harmonies and
the deep-breathed rhythm of trees,
the long exhale of winter
in dusk’s violet

he thinks how love climbs like vines–
how easily they wither
but drop seeds to sleep under the rustle
of rust-rotted leaf blankets

as seasons pass beneath gnarled roots
fingers pointing down–

and now he above in aged-rasped voice cries,
our earth, our light, how blue!

Some of you will recognize that this is a revision of my poem from the Oracle, which you can read here. I revised it to make it more imagist for TopTweetTuesday and shared it there. I’m sharing it now with dVerse Open Link Night.

In a song never his

Odilon Redon, Orpheus

In a song never his

he seeks peace in the bird world,
in songs not his own,
in squirrel harmonies and
the deep-breathed rhythm of trees,
the long exhale of winter
in dusk’s violet

he thinks how love climbs like vines–
how easily they wither
but drop dream-seeds to sleep under the rustle
of rust-rotted leaf blankets

as seasons pass beneath gnarled roots-
fingers pointing down–

while he above thinks,
our earth, our light, how blue!

Sometimes the Oracle makes you work, and other times, she just says, “here you go.”

Don’t Ask the Moon

Odilon Redon, The Boat

Don’t Ask the Moon

Imagine the world without
the cycles of dawn’s kiss planted on a sheet of blue,
and evening’s fish with their scale-scattered glimmer
lighting the indigo sea and shimmering on the river.

I wonder if there was a was–
or color or light–
before what came before such things

as bird and bee-breathed blooms,
a blanket of daffodils laid upon the grass,
and the song of the wind in the trees, or frost flowers’
blossoming clouds of white,

but the moon says, “Don’t ask. Behold! You know.”

I had a hard time focusing on the Oracle this morning–and, well, she and the moon work together. I think this is a new to me Redon, too.

The Oracle and the Adventurer

Odilon Redon, “Mystery,”

The Oracle and the Adventurer

Later you think—

if she was sitting,
how did she seem to push—

urging you onwards,
time moving in swift, smooth beats,
your skin sun-sweat soaked
and sea chilled,

aches recalled in dawn’s rust light,
along with the “why” you asked her,

and her enigmatic reply—
mad drunks and dreams.

This one came right away in one try from the Oracle, using mostly her words. I think it’s a companion poem to the story she gave Jane recently. I don’t remember this Redon painting. I suppose the Oracle led me to it, too.

Shadows and Light

Reflection, Odilon Redon

Shadows and Light

Who—if not my shadow—
recalls the honeyed light

when the black-dressed sky
scorns even diamond studs?

She asks–says please—
the fiddler plays
to owl-wings’ whispered beat

and then, the moon chimes a lullaby
through prismatic clouds,

while below ghosts dance
in the shadows cast

to vanish with the robin’s chirp
in the dawn’s sharp radish sky.

It took a couple tries with the Oracle. She waited until I was really focusing. 😏

River Poet, Behold Dawn

Sunrise Clouds over the Delaware River

River Poet, Behold Dawn

after the storms,
moon-shadows danced to fiddle tunes
and dreams swirled in the air,
dressing the forests in purple light,
the gowns made of love, lust, hope, and fear.

These, the pictures that dangle beyond reach
in an endless gallery–
though I will recall some, if I can,
before they vanish in the apricot sky,
in the susurration of the river,
and the cries of ospreys carrying them far into the clouds.

This seems like something I’d share in my Monday Morning Musings, but one doesn’t argue with the Oracle.

After the horrible heat and humidity, we finally got some rain—not enough—but we had a beautiful day yesterday and beautiful weather that will last through the weekend. And there was a full moon. Last night, I had some interesting dreams. The Oracle knows everything.

For My Parents

Odilon Redon, Orpheus

For My Parents

red, hot pink, and cool blue
reflected, refracted
from then to beyond

where casting shadows
like parents on children, larger than life
neither existing without the other,

at least not as they were.

I think if
my father
if my mother—

all the questions I never asked.

If they are light–never gone,
the breath of stars, infinitesimal and infinite
a never-ending melody of dream colors, heard
and almost remembered.

Both of my parents were born in August. I’ve been thinking about them, and of course, the Oracle knows. And extra ifs for Derrick.

I’m sharing this with dVerse, Open Link Night.

So Long, Farewell

So Long, Farewell

We want water and light,
but harmony, too—

not a storm, rain, with petrichor
and glimmering diamond drops after

the sun rises berry-bright and robins and sparrow
breath a rainbow of song, but

if—when–a storm comes
like a drunken lout knocking down
everything before him,

then what? This is the murmur
I hear from the river and in the wind,

in squirrel chatter and blue jay squawks—

to the deep roots and the bees hovering
on that sweet wild path

to nowhere,
asking to sleep in frost and wake in spring–

the cycles that we almost recall.

I seldom write climate change poems, but one doesn’t argue with the Oracle. She’s certainly aware of all the wild fires, and the recent storms in Kentucky and St. Louis.