Daily poem: September

 

We see you every evening,

as you lope long-legged

along the stream

beneath the willows,

hare bold as brass.

 

Grass crisps in the sun,

bakes hard where meadow flowers grew,

new shoots wait for the rain.

 

Strain against the wind

like the poplars,

ships in full sail,

their boughs foam-hissing,

waves ebbing.

 

Webbing the morning grass

with silver threads,

dew-quilting the meadow,

a silent army of spiders spin.

 

Begin the autumn dance,

yellow leaves, heat-dried,

the first to join the spectacle

that starts so slow and stately

and ends, the last dead stragglers

stripped in the shrieking wind.

 

In death, the bare year wilts,

stringing lines of the departed,

swallows, geese, those who know

the cold is coming,

and the pale sun will light only frost.

 

Lost in a web,

(dew-quilting)

diamond labyrinth,

that catches the last cold of night

and strings it in a complex fantasy,

I walk the silvery meadow.

 

Below the earth

are our feet planted,

rooted in this time and place—

we watch the stars,

still as this night

and the windless trees.

 

Breeze fills the sails of the sky

drawing the clouds from the west—

rain smells of the sea.

 

We watch the world change

from this window,

leaves falling like gold coins

in the wind,

and the year growing older.

 

Colder mornings

strung with spider strings,

plucking the chords of the meadow

in a mournful song.

 

Long ago and far away,

the voice fell and someone heard.

If we peer hard enough,

will we see the people of the air

hastening at last to fulfil their vow?

 

How did this happen,

the dying of all we hold so dear?

The stuff of poems and paintings

is rotting in plain sight,

and we stir its dust

with our careless tread.

 

Dread of the gun-crack grows

and death in the grass,

anger for the loss of sleek, agile beauty,

stolen by the slow and corpulent

with their killing machines.

 

Sheen silvers wet leaves

when the sun comes back

from its journey through the night

and the thick mists of morning.

 

Warning of colder times

in the fall of acorns

beneath a radiant sun,

and the cascade of hawthorn berries

red as a winter sunset.

 

Beset by worries

that midge bite

and tick nibble,

sleep dances out of reach

to fly the starry night.

 

Bright these middays still

and hot enough to seek the shade

but morning mist is long to clear

and twilight glimmer fades too soon,

a mass of shadows deep.

 

Sleep, a dance of in and out,

weaving silver light with shadow,

heat tossing sheets

then curled with chill

until dawn threatens

and weary dancing feet are still.

 

Will this be the last,

or will there be another road to find,

a map to read, route to plot

across different fields,

crossing paths of other lives?

 

Dive so deep, frog

that the heron will not see

the stripe of leaf green on the stream bed

where all is brown mud

and last year’s leaves.

 

Sleeves ravelled up,

in the last of summer we bask,

lizard-blinking at the sun,

dappling the walls of sleeping stone,

soaking heat for long winter nights.

 

Lights across the sky, only stars,

no moon betrays the stalkers and grazers,

only night, cool and gentle

brings peace.

 

Fleece those who are already threadbare,

for though the poor have little,

there are so many more of them

than the rich.

 

Which way, now

that the trees are gone

and fields stretch bare of life?

Will we follow the homeless,

the evicted, into the night?

 

Bright stars sprinkle the dark

full of owl wings beating

and the sighing of trees,

the heart and lungs of the earth.

 

Mirth rings from these trees,

jay laughter perhaps,

or is it alarm?

Deer slip back into shadows,

and woodpecker flies

back to the gentle arms

of the oak.

 

Broken, the crusted earth,

cracked like old varnish,

and in the chasms,

life ripples and runs,

this summer’s end.

 

Bend the light home,

shine with golden sun,

and no rain shall fall,

but a ring of happiness,

bright as water,

will this day be.