Tag Archive | autumn

Sparrow and Me in Autumn


So small, so ordinary brown

against the brilliance of the golden

leaves; I watch his anxious body (heart

beating four times faster than my own!),

twitch this way and that, head bobbing

up and down, all a-tremble in the falling

leaves that augur cold, white days to come.


Oh, little one, I’d like to offer you

the sureness you are held in tender eye

of God, but often so like you I am;

fearful of tomorrow’s frost, I knot

myself in petty this and foolish that,

fail to lean into the sturdy stillness

of the trees, fail to touch the love

that paints my world so vivid bright,

fail to breathe the calm that whispers

in the crimson winds that brush

across your rapid-beating heart—

and mine.


So let me simply sit with you

on your slim, sky-reaching branch,

savor the fragrance of this autumnal

now; let’s hold each other close and trust

we will not be alone as the crystal

walls of winter ice close in

around our fragile lives.

The Falling


Some savor taste of light as they drift

slowly through the evening of their lives;

others whoosh in a frenzied dance

of joy, of madness, or, perhaps of fear,

attuned, it seems, to secret, wild rhythms

in the gusty autumn winds.


I wonder, are these leaves content

with their brief shining? weary of the weakness

creeping through their shriveled veins and ready

to let go? or reluctant? sad to leave behind

the chatter of their wind-blown friends,

the playful hide-and-seeking sun,

the stillness of the stars? 


I love to watch these golden, scarlet fallings,

each so alone, so, so alone; each carries

emptiness, a fullness too; each seems to hum

a lovely, ancient, tumble of a poem, hymn

to brightly colored life, to dignity of death,

a muted melancholy joy.

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.


To All Those Who Came First

yellow leaves


          The trees in our backyard are putting on their fall finery very late this year. It’s early October, and everything is still very, very green. Apparently has to do with the lack of rain and the very warm temperatures we had in the waning days of September.

          But as I looked out the window the other day, I saw this hidden clump of yellow leaves on one of the smaller trees at the edge of our yard. I’m definitely a summer person and always rather dread the cold days that bright, colorful leaves portend, but I found myself admiring this little clump of leaves. They were the “first,” and they seemed somehow so brave. Tiny prophets quietly living out the reality that, despite all evidence to the contrary, change is in the air. Few will see these little leaves, as they are so hidden among all the greens of the bigger trees.

          But they are there. And they remind me that there have been so many through the years, so many tiny prophets who have come before the more colorful, bigger-than-life prophets who have brought important changes to our lives and to our world. Before Martin Luther there were others who quietly changed their colors and looked to a newness that was bound to come to the church and to the world. Before Rosa Parks there were also others who modestly modified the colors of their lives and spoke of a change that would surely come to the social order of their day.

          And the list could go on and on. So many unknown “firsts” that have quietly heralded the news that wrongs will be righted, that change must and will come about. Often unseen. Often unacknowledged. But so real and so important.

          So thanks be to God for those hidden yellow leaves in our yard. And thanks be to God for all the hidden yellow leaves in the history of our world. Where would we be without them?