Autumnesque: A Poem in Minutes

1:47 pm

O, sing a song of fall desires,

Of cool wind-mashed clouds and freezing skies,

And the trees that look not quite so green, but dry;

And of the one voice that calls when all the rest

Fall quiet.

2:10 pm

Dead end, says the mustard sign,

But for me it's the live beginning,

Only the end of the bright outsides of houses

That leave me dull within.

Sailors need sea-room; let me have land-room,

Space enough for long thoughts

And loves I'm still pursuing.

So I pedal till I could break my bike's heart--

Or at least the speed limit--

And fly dry-throated to a place away,

A dead-end nook, a cleft in the woods along the road.

Benches rest in a welcoming open square:

A place for friends, but today for myself along the road.

The sign planted by the trailhead reads, "Hours:

Eight a.m. to sunset." Foolish.

As if the woods were not on their own time, their own heartbeat.

2:25 pm

"POND" and a pointing arrow--

A laconic gesture but significant,

As if the water were some great attraction

To merit its own noticeboard.

So I follow the path and find

Not a pond, but a flat green sward--

That's what you'd think, at least,

If it weren't for the crooked length of dock

And the frozen serpents of tree limbs

Sunk halfway in that greeness

Which no wind stirs.

2:35 pm

A useless bridge.

In the streambed (barely a scrape in the muddy earth),

A lone brown puddle quivers.

The bridge railing sprawls in the dirt.

It must have fallen down in despair

Of not having a purpose.

The path's riddled with roots.

Woodbirds--boastful-headed chickadees,

Peering slate nuthatches,

And a woodpecker, snowy-chested--

Flitter tantalizing, irritated,

And at last drift elusively away.

Only a few enquiring mosquitos stay.

(And a pair of chasing squirrels, so obsessed

With their haphazard race

They do not notice I'm sitting on their bridge

Until they've scooted past and turned to cast a guilt-bright eye

On the danger they've left behind them.)

2:50 pm

Seams, gleams of gold in the great emerald tree

(How I love the great emerald bulk of a tree

Alive and aware, yet monumental).

What is this sunlight only a few leaves can feel

Trickling down the rough fingers like some sort of honey?

A light that exists in the mind

3:02 pm

Red leaf on the trodden trail,

Arresting as a stop-sign of the woods,

Alone among its kind.

A glance about reveals no parent tree, beacon-blazing.

Yet still the path is scattered with tiny flames.

Some humorous arsonist must be the culprit.

3:10 pm

The end sweeps soon.

Before my feet are ready the path curves back

And drops me where I began,

Where my bike waits, a little rusty, still panting.

It's back to the road for me, back to the closed-up land.

But I have breathed with trees, and my soul is sated.

I carry a bit of the cloud-shaping wind back home in my hair.






To the Power Poetry staff:

I am thinking about submitting this poem for another scholarship competition. Is this allowed? Thank you,

Mary Woods


Yup, Mary. That's fine. 

Mary (PP staff)


I Love This! So much imagery and you really do take us on a ride through the woods with you.. Love your use of rythm and rhyme,  and all your analogies too, thank you for sharing and keep it up

Jordan Lewis

Amazing, how you could take leaves, something most people take for granted, and put it in a poem as beautiful and wonderly made as this one. 




   The more I got into your poem, the more I enjoyed it. I especially enjoyed your description of the squirrels, and also your reference to God as the "clever arsonist."

    You have your own style; congratulations on having forged it! Which poets have been inspirational to you along the way?

    Love in Christ,





Dear Dan,

Thank you for your comment! I am glad you enjoyed it. This poem was particularly inspired by Robert Frost's work. He did not do freeverse, but his natural descripions and spiritual insights are wonderful. I highly recommend him!




Such a beautifully introspective piece :)

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