—Temple Boxold, Magalia
To name Buddhas in this house
is to name the wild flowers
in the field: Siddartha. Jonquil.
One concept. One Beauty.
Many names. Just One.
You were talking about Orlando
or the London fields—anywhere but these
same dull hills of tarnished oaks
and stubble-grass the color of bone.
The November skies had held their tribunal
and declared “no rain.”
We searched our heads for some tribal
memory, incantation, aboriginal chant for
a change of weather. “A burnt
offering,” you suggested, “rake up leaves
for a bonfire to the gods of autumn.”
Meanwhile, the oaks
kept letting loose their leaves in flurries.
Leaves scattered every which way.
We gave it up and did our nightly chores.
—Kathy Kieth, Diamond Springs
Murky edge of a winter's dawn
brings shadowy traffic
to the bird feeder: shorter days
mean shorter forages—shorter
and shorter these dim days grow,
in their steady flight into
ebony. . . In the yard, a lone rose
bobs in this restless darkening:
nods on her slim cane so ready
for pruning: bright pink bridge
from summer's sun into the pitchy
cave of a long winter's night. . .
GOLD CUSP OF AUTUMN
The birds know about autumn’s cusp.
They know where the golden apples are hidden
among the curling green leaves.
Their chicks have all grown up now,
and can find the apples by themselves.
Among the curling green leaves,
those chicks have finally grown
and are finding the apples by themselves.
Of course, the birds know about autumn’s cusp;
they know where all the ripe golden apples are hidden.
BLUE EDGES OF A WINTER MORNING
have the jays out early: noisy,
hungry, thirsty, stirred up by
a long night of November chill.
They chip the azure out of
the birdbath, try to keep
moving, keep dry, keep warm.
Blue edges have me brewing
coffee: cold hands fumble in
the near-dark for my cobalt cup
and promises of thaw—fingers
reaching for anything to melt
my icy mood, cold feet, new
sharp edges to this steel-
blue November morning…
That time of year thou mayst in me behold
When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang
Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,
Bare ruined choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.
In me thou see'st the twilight of such day
As after sunset fadeth in the west;
Which by and by black night doth take away,
Death's second self, that seals up all in rest.
In me thou see'st the glowing of such fire,
That on the ashes of his youth doth lie,
As the death-bed, whereon it must expire,
Consumed with that which it was nourish'd by.
This thou perceiv'st, which makes thy love more strong,
To love that well, which thou must leave ere long.
—Photo by Michelle Kunert