One Fall Night

the dance of leaves when the autumn leaves blow (Joseph Brauer)

One Fall Night

Now that we’ve run the edge of a perfect circle,
we become recurrence.  From within its own absence,
the wind has picked up now—how sudden the advance
of this scheming season: doors shudder against the winds,
fields already lay bare but for those unharvested remains
still tendrilled to ideals of rotund abundance.

Once, we too were tethered to a timeless abundance,
an encompassing now which ruled our tightly drawn circle.
No movement beyond that present—nothing remained
from a yesterday, or for a tomorrow.  Time’s absence
removed us from the grief and hope that now wind
themselves tighter and tighter with each hour’s advance.

Not yet free, could we have known in advance
just how our first unthinking grasp of the abundance
would instigate time?   And evening.  And morning.  The four winds
carried us far from that primordial circle.
We drifted—evening, morning—and sculpted new absence
in our own image.  Then, discarding the remains,

we fled.  Never to return.  For us, all that remained
was rootlessness. Never to advance
beyond our love of loving.   We made absence
our god, and we lamented our emptied abundance.
And now, every circle is a vicious circle.
And now, autumn’s hour is again. Grinning winds

gorge themselves on barren fields, and other winds
still wait in the hills to claim their share of our remains.
We are safe.  Safe, we move within our warm circles,
bolstered and fortified against the winds’ advance,
repeating ourselves and others, feigning abundance—
this too shall pass, we are safe now, you know, absence

makes the heart grow there but for the grace of absence—
repeating, cowering within our wind-
struck shelters, we lean and summon abundance
back from autumn’s ambush, but find that nothing remains
after yet another thousand years’ advance
and again we run the edge of a perfect circle.

And abundance is last night’s grapes. Still chilled, they remain
in the bowl by the window, fending off dawn’s advance.
You, I, and our absence.  One fall night.  Encircled.

M. Salomon

photo: the dance of the leaves when the autumn winds blow by Joseph Brauer


~ by matt on 5 November 2009.

6 Responses to “One Fall Night”

  1. Amazing poem; really like this one. The ending is especially poignant.

  2. Thank you

  3. All I can say is “wow”! The sestina is not an easy form of poetry to write and yet yours flows effortlessly. Inspiring to be sure!

  4. Appreciate that, Scotti. Thanks!

  5. […] The Dance of the Leaves when the Autumn Leaves Blow by Joseph Brauer […]

  6. […] The Dance of the Leaves when the Autumn Leaves Blow by Joseph Brauer […]

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Natalie E. Illum...

is a poet, performer and disability activist. Bring her stumbling to your city.

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