Unlikely Mingling

Tahquamenon Falls State Park, Michigan. 1991
Leaves of birch and maple,
limbs of you and I,
protected from autumn rain
beneath this vacant oak.
Such an unlikely mingling,
our clinging,
in damp embrace,
chased here like the leaves
by October wind
and times grown short.
When it ends,
our time pressed together,
like the pages of a journal,
I shall recall the perfume
of leaf upon leaf
and the touch on my cheek
of the chill was
and the warm
might have been.

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Our Pencil Gray Ways

Squirrel and I both can tell
the season’s changing.
Maybe it’s the shift in Sun’s angle
stretching shadows a little longer
during the height of our day,
inhaling what we smell
in the transformed air,
even though the still
mostly green leaves
haven’t figured out yet
it’s they who are exhaling it.

We skitter our pencil gray ways
into and out of weakening light,
sketching and scribbling maps
for future reference, preparing
for that long decline of day when
these nuggets will be all we have
to sustain us. We’ll view it all,
as we always have, safely
from our space of invisibility
here in the longest shadows,
in the cold light of moon and star,
where all we have to keep warm
will be these set aside memories
of a time in May.

Dark Harvest

Photo by Joseph Hesch

October winds and rains cleared
the branches and stretched
my piece of sky’s once red arbor edges.
You would think one might see,
once the light comes again,
more feathers in the trees
usurping the old territory of
now-ground blanketing leaves’.
But, as dawn stretches maples’
cold skeleton-shadow hands
to rap at my door,
no robins’ songs awaken me,
nor the screech of crows
chanting their harsh
morning prayers.

The 5:30 freight train’s
forlorn whistle, as it
hauls westward the night,
replaced mourning doves’
lowing signal that morning’s on
my leaf-tossed doorstep.
It signals another Fall harvest
of days’ memories, the yield
of a life spent searching
for something that would grow
from dreams but never did.
But it brought forth
this comforting creation,
a new life, where before
nothing but darkness informed
my cold and drowsy thoughts.

Su Maja

Thacher Park - New York

Thacher Park – New York (Photo credit: Dougtone)

The Helderberg hills lie out there,
sunlight warm upon them while clouds
blanket him in cold. They appear
sand-painted majas in naked respose
he can’t help but wish lying with.
It’s not that he cannot lie with them,
it’s that he cannot lie at all.
She would have him no other way.
But soon enough, he thinks, all will
lie beneath snow white shrouds,
escarpment and dreamers alike
in their own winters, folded and
put away until that time
they embrace out there in open sky,
wearing naught but sunlight
and that which sets all free.

If I Fall

Photo by Joseph Hesch

If I was to fall,
to light upon the grass
in the autumn of it all,
the world wouldn’t hear me.
So many of us just fall and
people only notice us, kick us aside,
on the path to their own fall.
The others don’t drop
with the sound of crashing limbs.
They sing no death song.
Only if the fickle winds of being
drive ahead those who have fallen,
shall all hear them rustle
and collide in a sonata
of whir and crackle.

All save me.
I shall float silently as
I once did when I flew
on the coursing winds
among those not yet fallen.
I shall swirl and race past all,
a soft-inked quill lifting
nightwings in silent hunt
for your beating heart.
Each new breath, each exhalation
of line, life and love, supports
my flight in a near-death tours en l’air
and gliding glissade on my way
to grasp the tenderness of you.

Looked down from the back porch and saw this bit of white fluff, as out of place as autumn leaves in August. But there it was! From that came the first line…

Linked for dVerse Poets Pub Open Link Night.

Secret Harvest

By Joseph Hesch

They hide their faces
like pickpockets,
pulling ruby and garnet
from the Macs’ green folds and
from the secret places of Northern Spies.
Black and brown folks, shivering
in a northland that knows mostly white,
from the bosses’ faces,
to its mountaintops, 
to its Aprils.
They work hard, paid maybe enough 
to support their families and a life 
that sends them to places that 
will never be their home.
That’s why they hide their faces,
so they won’t have to go Home.
But Federales with badges and
cameras are always trying to
send them back.
Back to El Salvador,
to Jamaica, 
or to Mexico.
After they climb from the ladders
for the last time this season, and
gently unload their treasures into
great grey boxes that dot the orchard,
all the pickers want is to trade
the red gems for some green to travel
to Louisiana for the rice,
to Florida for the celery, or
to the grocer’s for their kids.

Autumn is, give-or-take, a couple of days away. This time always puts me in mind of my days in the North Country of New York. Apple country. It also reminds me of a story from when I was working as a baby reporter. I was sent to do a simple apple harvest piece at an orchard near Plattsburgh. There were quiet people all over the place, most of whom would never make eye contact with me. After talking to the owner of the place, I stepped away a bit and pulled my camera out to take a few “atmosphere” shots to illustrate the story.

“No photos,” the Boss said. “Put that camera away.”

“But I’m just taking a couple of shots for the story. It’s such a bucolic scene and…”

“No photos, I said.” The Boss sounded pretty stern, but I tried igmoring him and looked through my viewfinder, composing what I thought would be my only shot.

I felt his hand on my shoulder and when I turned, he put his hands on his hips, pulling the front of his jacket open and revealing a revolver attached to his belt.

“No photos, yes sir,” I said. And hauled out of there back to Plattsburgh.

When I got to the office, my boss explained the fellow at the orchard was protecting himself and his workforce, which was comprised of more than a few “illegals.”

Like I said, I always remember this story when the first batch of apples enters the house. You don’t think he really would have shot me, do you?

“Secret Harvest” is my post for today’s dVerse Poets Pub Open Link Night, which I had the priviledge to host last week. Check it out and enjoy some of the fruits of a world-wide array of special poets.