Thursday, September 05, 2019

Rumors of Autumn

—Poems and Photos by Taylor Graham, Placerville, CA

      a cyhydedd naw ban

First-light will come a little bit late.
The owl has called through the last of dark,
the bats return to their eaves. Still air.
The sun is slower to climb the hill,
but it keeps its August blinding stare.
Today will be hot without, within.
My dozen tomatoes on the sill
are ripening golden red—just wait.
Silence broken, a questioning bark.
Leftover moon with an awkward grin.


One leaf’s twirling on the twig—
proposing to end the masquerade
of summer. One bird shares its carol
as if calling to a mate
with no prospect of nesting.
Rumors of autumn on the breeze,
a reaper considering the field.
Lengthening shadow’s
more pensive than grim.

 Wakamatsu Farm Stage Canopy


The Festival is over, tea house shut. Wing-canopies hover over the main stage—no one sitting on hay bales under their shade; no drama to unfold. The bamboo wishing-tree lies plucked of poems—recumbent scaffold under the great blue oak whose leaves hold breeze. Listen. All manner of insects occupy the land that seems to flourish on its own, its native soil. Quail clatter and rise, take off in as many directions from under-foliage hideouts. A heritage walnut tree—main trunk snagged off—improvises new shiny-leaf branches, nuts plumping in green husks.

buckeye woods in dead-
brown guise—what becomes of us
in a dry season?

    a pentaquad

That man unmoving, lying in shadow
in a curve of country road that has no
shoulder, only cutbank with drainage ditch
on a two-lane where the outbound traffic
speeds, guiding on a double center line.

Who, driving that road, would dare lose his line
of concentration? oncoming traffic
in sun-glare—you could end up in the ditch.
And his passenger is occupied, no
doubt, with his own plans. A hint of shadow

darker than the shade of trees which shadow
the roadside, bending over that bump—no,
a human figure lying in the ditch.
What does that form have to do with traffic,
lying athwart its ever-moving line?

One might draw an outline, a safety line
around that figure inches from traffic.
One might stop. But there’s no turnoff, just ditch.
One’s vehicle is past so quickly, no
chance. It was just a figment, a shadow.


It keeps coming back.
Mowing it down makes it thrive.
You can’t snuff it out.
Look how fresh green it grows there
with its living golden stars.


Here we sit on Main Street waiting for high noon.
Waiting for the Overland Stage.
Weekend crowds pass by, sightseeing this old
Forty-niner town. No one looks our way,
where we sit at a folding table on sidewalk
across from the famous Bell Tower:
manual typewriters at ready, blank paper
on the platen. We’re waiting for
someone to ask for a poem. Poems
aren’t on a passerby’s agenda. Oh, there’s
a boy staring at our table. Those are typewriters,
aren’t they? Yes. Have you ever seen
one before? No. He turns away,
just as a shopkeeper announces, the stagecoach
isn’t coming. Glitch in this world of
instant global communication. A woman
glances at my vintage Royal.
She pronounces typewriter under her breath,
then she moves on, like History.

 Bell Tower in Placerville

Today’s LittleNip:

—Taylor Graham

Freeway at standstill,
so here we sit unmoving,
watching cottonwood—
its leaves alive in a breeze,
graceful as summer passing.


A late summer thank-you to Taylor Graham for writing about this crack into between seasons, and our recent Seed of the Week: The Last Ghost of Summer—ghosts she sees in shadows in the ditch and this dry landscape all around. She has also thrown down the gauntlet of Welsh forms last week and this, and they aren’t easy! For more about the cyhydedd naw ban, see

Three choices for poetry tonight in our area: at 8pm in Sacramento, Poetry Unplugged at Luna’s Cafe and Juice Bar has featured readers and open mic on 16th St., and Terry Moore reads at Laughs Unlimited on Front St. in Old Sacramento at 8:30pm. In Davis, NSAA (Lawrence Dinkins) reads at the John Natsoulas Gallery, 8pm. Scroll down to the blue column (under the green column at the right) for info about these and other upcoming poetry events in our area—and note that more may be added at the last minute.

—Medusa, celebrating those rumors of autumn on the breeze…

 —Anonymous Photo of Ripening Tomatoes

Photos in this column can be enlarged by
clicking on them once, then clicking on the x
in the top right corner to come back to Medusa.