Fall, a Song by John Denver
Reflections in the water like shadows in my mind
Speak to me of passing days and nights and passing time
The falling leaves are whispering, “Winter’s on its way,”
I close my eyes, remembering the warmth of yesterday
It seems a shame to see September swallowed by the wind
And more than that, it’s, oh, so sad to see the summer end
And though the changing colors are a lovely thing to see
If it were mine to make the change, I think I’d let it be
But I don’t remember hearing anybody asking me
I think he knows I’m alive, having come down
The three steps of the back porch
And given me a good once over. All afternoon
He’s been moving back and forth,
Gathering odd bits of walnut shells and twigs,
While all about him the great fields tumble
To the blades of the thresher. He’s lucky
To be where he is, wild with all that happens.
He’s lucky he’s not one of the shadows
Living in the blond heart of the wheat.
This autumn when trees bolt, dark with the fires
Of starlight, he’ll curl among their roots,
Wanting nothing but the slow burn of matter
On which he fastens like a small, brown flame.
Green valleys stretching wide
with patchworking in brown
and it’s my home.
I’ve walked every inch of the
Strayed from path and beaten trail
(though I never passed
them by without having
tried them once).
Idled beside cold trickling
and watched deer pass
full of beauty.
My heart is here
buried mid the dust
will be eroded by the rains
tempered by the winds and
But never shall it be
extracted nor extricated
For its roots are in the
deep in the earth
to that which it holds
dear. – JWD
Source: “Nature’s Quiet Conversations” by John Weeks (p.103)
The whiskey stink of rot has settled
in the garden, and a burst of fruit flies rises
when I touch the dying tomato plants.
Still, the claws of tiny yellow blossoms
flail in the air as I pull the vines up by the roots
and toss them in the compost.
It feels cruel. Something in me isn’t ready
to let go of summer so easily. To destroy
what I’ve carefully cultivated all these months.
Those pale flowers might still have time to fruit.
My great-grandmother sang with the girls of her village
as they pulled the flax. Songs so old
and so tied to the season that the very sound
seemed to turn the weather.
Silence again. The glorious symphony
Hath need of pause and interval of peace.
Some subtle signal bids all sweet sounds cease,
Save hum of insects’ aimless industry.
Pathetic summer seeks by blazonry
Of color to conceal her swift decrease.
Weak subterfuge! Each mocking day doth fleece
A blossom, and lay bare her poverty.
Poor middle-aged summer! Vain this show!
Whole fields of Golden-Rod cannot offset
One meadow with a single violet;
And well the singing thrush and lily know,
Spite of all artifice which her regret
Can deck in splendid guise, their time to go!