SMALL STANZAS IN AUTUMN

Autumn returns, and again we are cast thistledown
together on the winds
, wrote Tu Fu in 755 AD,

and I feel the cold air blowing, the years falling
by like so many yellow leaves. Down in the meadow,

some larkspur, a few black-eyed Susans still bloom,
but itís late in the season, everything going to seed.

The afternoon sun licks strips of gold on my arms.
A drowsy silence, hummed by bees. The thunk of an apple,

finally ripe, falling. We tilt at the balancing point,
between summerís too-much and winterís not-enough;

the sumac flickers red in the hedgerow. Last sweet
raspberries. The old cherry tree turning orange

peach orchid gold, a sunset of leaves. Small sulphur
butterflies dance on the lawn. Who could paint

a sky this blue? The pages of my notebook
flutter in the breeze.

Barbara Crooker

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