There is a favourite image I have always loved and keeps coming up in my thoughts with the approach of autumn: a hedge with a dusting of fallen leaves. I seem to fall back on it as a poetic image as these poems of mine from different periods reflect.
Under leaf frothed hedge
Dark-eyed crow in stillness lies,
Staring out the sun.
(September 21, 2011.)
Beneath ashen clouds
Huddle-wise brewing unhallowed cares,
Fresh linen forms the breeze beyond hedges frothed with leaf.
On this autumn head, this top-dressed sod,
With alluvial shoulder shouldering but another age,
I squat, printing finger's touch on stone,
Feeling the silences that hold.
Fireflies on BirchWood-stove sweet hints of maple
Fluent with the breeze
Swaying over cedars feathered in leaf fall
With October's gilded text.
Motionless above me,
Fireflies on birch.
Codelessly camouflaged on a dark window of grace,
A natural scar
Form for their gathering
Beyond the cold light of their old desires,
And beyond the strange embers
Beneath my cigarette ash.
(Lake Malaga, Autumn 1983)
LeafageActions as at autumn bent brow
Chestnut cordial countenance.
Oak on over phrases pile
Encausted flicker of leaves on hedges
Frothed with glass imaginings.
Tapered thought, til up was wrought
Rows, rows, sitting so.
Life margining movements, power dives,
Pliant stiffs waxing within wreaths.
Down, down, down each edge flows frozen full.
poems copyright ralph patrick mackay.
Note: The Haiku was inspired by the sad sight of a dead crow under a hedge and a well- known haiku by Basho; Bounden reflects my searching out my grandfather's grave; Fireflies on Birch was inspired by direct observation of nature; and Leafage reveals a youthful interest in Gerard Manley Hopkins. It is interesting to look back and see subtle influences by some favourite poets such as Edwin Muir, Hopkins, Ted Hughes. I have to admit that the title for the third poem was made with Irving Layton's famous poem, Butterfly on Rock, in mind, (it is not a comment on the great Canadian poets poem) but what I call my light verse lacks his robust life force. I come across as more lapsed Presbyterian than poet.
If, Dear Reader, you are still reading, you deserve a treat for venturing this far into my poetic hinterland, so I shall post this wonderful music, Autumn Leaves with the masters of poetic musical expression:
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