all summer they drank the sun
leaves touch skin and bone
we talk too much remember too much
wind picks up
the world is emptying
earth opens its black heart
on the other side
Going Home in Autumn
This bent and pitted road
eases through the fall
into ochre jubilation.
Strange and warm -
to have arrived where mapping ends
and nothing next can begin
Our troops hold fast in winter,
advance and attack in spring.
Then planners, merchants, showgirls.
They can’t hear the drum of autumn
beating like some ancient heart.
It’s more a rhythm than a sound.
The elders learned to welcome it.
There’s silence between the drumbeats
where promises fade out.
Time to look up –
and wonder at the hot red flush
on the screen behind the stars.
The Academy of Leaves
Thoughts that swell into beliefs
are yet too green.
The light that slides to grey
more fully senses ground:
as the sun grows cool
and the leafing urge is burning out
earth must be acknowledged.
Its loamy paws will turn things over,
analyse the fiery tones.
By December every page is blank.
Our part must be devotion.
a dull light is gathering power
the window won’t close snug enough
frost at the ready sharp-eyed
the cops are at the door
stash golden days deep in your heart
we got away with them for so long
the sunny indulgences
of playing under open skies
a cold clear rule is closing in
so get small hunker down
chew the old truths into a nest
until through the childless city
the piper returns
and with squeaky voices
we can scurry out
wild and hungry and messy as spring.
to the inconsolable
we murmur welcome
remember you are water
all land burns
along the dirt track
between the houses and the trees
the gone world posts its signs
of what you can’t or need to do
best travel with the leaves
bursting with all we become
every autumn so far
the evening receives me
it is neither eager nor remote
but its grey blue impartiality
accepts the tangle and weight
of years that make no sense
a shadow jogs in front of me
it scratches at the earth
like a dog at the back door
sensing the whistle of light
my faceless head
unlocks and turns
into the flood of the wide-eyed moon