Poetry Friday:Toward the Solstice by Mark Perlberg

Poetry Friday is hosted by Laura at Writing the World for Kids

brown-leaf-on-ground.jpg

Big piles of leaves tower along the sidewalks of every street.  Just about all the leaves have tumbled from their branches, their autumn glory long past peak.  Up at our farm we could see plumes of smoke rising here and there in the valley, and every once in a while (when the wind shifted just so) we could catch a whiff of leaves burning – acrid and earthy, the last of this year’s vegetation.

It was grey and gloomy when I set out to work this morning…soon it will be grey and gloomy when I set off for home, too.   Fall color has given way to dull November.  As the poem says, we are letting go of color and preparing for something else…something tells me that I am not quite ready…

Toward the Solstice

We burned our leaves on the bluest October day,
the sun still warm on our backs,
frost just a ghost in the shrubbery.
We raked the leaves into shifting piles on the lawn,
scooped them into deep round baskets
and spilled them in the street against the curb.
The vein of fire, unseen at first in diamond light,
whispered through oak leaves brown as butcher paper,
and maple still flushed with color like maps
torn from The Book of Knowledge.
We were letting go of October, relinquishing color,
readying ourselves for streets lacquered with ice,
the town closed like a walnut, locked inside the cold.

 

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20 thoughts on “Poetry Friday:Toward the Solstice by Mark Perlberg

  1. .”Letting go of October” feels not only letting go of fall but letting go of this year. The “plumes of smoke” signal the end of a cycle. To fast always too fast.

  2. Tara, Long Island has seen a slice of the peak of fall so autumn is alive for now. The colors are bright in spotty parts. Your description of autumn on the farm is so picturesque that I would like to capture it from you for the gallery: “Up at our farm we could see plumes of smoke rising here and there in the valley, and every once in a while (when the wind shifted just so) we could catch a whiff of leaves burning – acrid and earthy, the last of this year’s vegetation.” May I place this with a crop of your header in the gallery? BTW: The poem is one to ponder.

  3. It’s beautiful, Tara, and brings back my own memories of doing exactly that. We raked the leaves into the ditches in front of the house and burned them. It is a smell not often found anymore and evokes nice memories, although I know now it wasn’t a good thing.

  4. Oh, lovely. “frost just a ghost in the shrubbery.” and that walnut image. Thanks for sharing this! I just walked to the mailbox thinking it’s insane that we are sunny and 60 degrees in November in Minnesota. And still some flowers blooming and a few leaves on the trees. Don’t get me wrong; it’s beautiful. But…I can’t help thinking this is not right.

    PS My husband devoured the Book of Knowledge encyclopedias as a child, over and over!

  5. What a lovely poem. And your intro, about the smell of smoke in the air, reminds me of one of the things I miss about autumn in the city. (And I love your banner photo, as usual…plus I think we have the same wind chime!)

  6. I love “the vein of fire,” Tara. While visiting Oregon, I went on an early morning walk and found a leaf like this one, ringed in frost. I’ll have to show you when I see you in a few weeks.

  7. What gorgeous imagery! I can see that “maple still flushed with color like maps/torn from The Book of Knowledge.” I agree with Laura about these warm days in November, but I’m not quite ready to be locked in that walnut of cold, either! Thanks for sharing!

  8. I enjoyed this piece this morning even more because we woke to our first dose of frost and while we have lots of vibrant color too this will shift us to the dull of November. Thank you for the reflection.

  9. “scooped them into deep round baskets” What a forgotten memory the line brought back to me. No black plastic in those days. I can only imagine the poets of today writing about leaves in garbage bags:

    scooped them into heavy-duty trash bags
    lined them up against the curb
    like a wall on the Mexican border
    discouraging kids from taking that leap…

    (Sorry, I couldn’t help myself!)

  10. Tara, this is simply gorgeous! I wish we had a fall like you describe here in Texas. It seems we move right into the winter without ever experiencing the autumn glory you describe. Thank you for giving me a slice of it!

  11. We aren’t relinquishing color here in the tropics, but I always love experiencing the season through everyone’s photos and poetry in the fall! Ruth, thereisnosuchthingasagodforsakentown.blogspot.com

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