As schools reopen in my part of the world, I have had the strange, disorientating experience of returning to work yet nothing being the same. But beside my office in the school library are some gorgeous auburn leaves that soothe me whenever I pass them. So I’m sharing them here with you today, along with a snippet from one of the poems in my new book, Les Feuilles Mortes, which is a kind of prayer for all of us as we imagine life on the other side of Corona.
And do not say, When all this is done. Think bigger than the mere return of leaves to trees. Think seasons not yet imagined, transformed.
(From “Autumn Leaves: Tanka for Isolation”
Les Feuilles Mortes is available for digital download here. Tune in to the online book launch on Saturday 30th May at 8:30pm Australian Eastern Standard Time.
thought it had arrived.
The subtle lull
of autumn tricked us
with its need for cardigans
and leaves aesthetically arranged
on garden floors and streets.
We thought the worst had come,
how true cold feels
the need for scarves
in bags (in case)
and duffle coats;
the huddled walk
of chilling feet
and all the proud offense of those
who do not know the cold.
please keep us warm.
The winter does not sit with us.
And strengthen mumbling
to take the worst
Yes, the leaves die as they go golden,
this does not speak to me of death,
as hand-in-hand we walk below bowers
the world’s bright defiant grave.
Tombs carry promise, still dormant – a longing –
hidden by these shrouds of weak foresight –
then, like colour transfigured in a shower of gold,
soon to sing,
“Death, where’s your victory? Your sting?”
Poor leaves -
gold before the sun is gone,
your brothers green,
fallen now before your time,
the street lined thick with your mistake -
leaves, lie still and wait.
Last week summer ruled the street;
spring creeps in, winter retreats.
We mourned the heat, we dreamt the dreams
that drove the leaves down to the ground.
Autumn soul, poor autumn soul,
let the seasons pass you by
and rest a while in grace.