This brief and lasting season
Noon bells wait until I have paper and pen
to say this will be the last poem to peal
in this summer of O’Five. Poets everywhere
are doing this. It’s expected of us to do so.
We are scratching symbols onto paper in
common languages that cause metaphor to have
its brief and lasting season in the mind and heart.
I am no different.
As I was a boy enamored by my own words, so
am I still that callow man in my fifty-third year.
I have grown a beard for the first time in a decade
to mark the merest difference in this sleighted moment.
From the distance, as bells cease their timid churchings,
the whistle of a steam locomotive bellows waterfire
to the furnace that hangs midday over the end of summer.
This is a time for dying things.
A thousand thousand poets write in agreement.
Leaf, change, color, harvest, scent, wind, cold,
light, gather, warmth, store, soon, snow, coming.
Common words for common seasons.
I hear dirges in limbs of tree blood. I see birds
shift before things invisible. Something is coming.
I feel rivers wither in a weep of rain. I taste desert
yearning to return to sea. Something is arriving.
I sense poets steeped in a cupping of what they
cannot sip. We surrender to all we cannot hold back.
Something is here.
September 22, 2005