Autumn Pentecost


(a few bright red leaves amidst the more subdued mauves of our red maple)

Soon the quiet mauves that dangle on my lovely

tree will glow a brilliant red, fling out

their solemn joy across the plummeting

of brown and yellow leaves; for now the brightness

flickers only here and there, a kind of autumn

Pentecost, fiery tongues a-blaze amidst

the winding down of days, crimson

weight of glory, blush of hovering

presence in all the fadings, all the fallings

of the leaves and of our lives.


4 thoughts on “Autumn Pentecost

  1. This is a beautiful, sad, poignant poem. After reading it, I had the same kind of peace I did yesterday when I re-read Wendell Berry’s poem, “The Peace of Wild Things.” It is also one of your more successful poems, (whatever that means). The assonance in words such as “mauves” and “dangle” and “autumn,” etc. meld beautifully with the alliteration in words such as “glow a brilliant red, fling out,” and “a-blaze amidst” and “in all the fadings, all the fallings, and “leaves/lives.”

    I remember first reading Berry’s, “The Peace of Wild Things” a week after 9/11. I needed to read this poem a week after the Presidential election. Over the weekend, I heard Thomas Friedman say this about our election: “This is a moral 9/11. Only 9/11 was done to us from the outside and we did this to ourselves.” Tough words that made me wince. Your poem made me grateful.

  2. Sharonimo, I actually wrote this poem before the sadness of last week, but it has come to be a necessary resting place for me since then, and I’m grateful it has been something of that for you as well. The picture, of course, is from earlier this fall, but it touched me then with a strong sense of the sometimes unnoticed Presence in the mauve-y moments of our days Little did I know then how devastatingly real the “fading and falling” would become.

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