Pubescent Winter, crone daughter,
coming in dead of night to shine
like stars aglow on cold water
or the glint of a silver mine.
Frost, you blight the garden and crops
far worse than worms in leaf and root
with your cold white crystal caltrops
upon petal, stem, vine, and fruit.
But you kill, too, the worms in squirrels
and rabbits with your icy sting
so that while the frigid wind skirls
the family may eat till Spring.
A goddess takes and gives in turn—
beautiful, cruel, hoary and kind,
so cold that you can sometimes burn
as we leave Summer warmth behind.
Acorns underfoot, red foliage overhead,
we walk through the woods, to the wilted clover bed
where the Green Man lays, a god no longer green,
and soon to fade beneath that arboreal scene.
From his brow we take a handful of brown leaves
while the birds fall silent among the sylvan eaves.
He rouses, briefly, and offers to us a seed:
it smells of every plant, tree, and even weed.
Returning home, we set the water to boil
and dig a hole in the earth, planting in the soil
the seed that he gave us, a seed of Springtime hope
as we drink our Autumn tea and we try to cope.
The world is one of colors all flaring in hue,
life and death together—a bittersweet brew.
Autumn Vixen I
Look at her lovely sly eyes
glinting darkly among the leaves;
a fox, but only in disguise—
her red hair often bereaves.
Autumn Vixen II
Autumn blew a chill kiss with its wind
through the tree-lined streets of our small town
and teased us softly of Summer’s end
when her leaves would soon fade and fall down.
Eager to wear her yellows and reds
and that drab brown frock she herself loves,
she coos, and her breath goes to our heads
with a fog that rolls over foxgloves.
An artful lover, she also weaves
spells with her middle-aged, mature charms,
yet playful, too, as winds through the leaves
so her love is fresh and, thus, disarms.
And though withering with winds so cold
that you bundle up for her embrace
she is lovely, still, her colors bold—
lovelier than Winter’s haggard face.
Autumn Vixen III
When the season reaches an age
and cares not for judgment from the world,
she may well turn to the next page
and let her dress fall freely, unfurled,
and welcome onto her bare breast
a man daring the scandalous task—
naked, unafraid, wholly blessed
with neither name nor shame nor a mask.
The land was speaking again
with the wilting of the black trees,
the yellowing of green fields, the glen
strewn with leaves from a cold breeze.
Beneath the dismal gloom the land lay
languid while clouds drizzled a cold shower,
gloomy droplets throughout the day
mourning the waste of every flower.
And the sun was gone, as if it had crashed
into the cornfields, with their broken stalks,
and burned itself out, shattered, smashed
into cold black soil, strewn with rocks.
Wherever the land spoke, it decried
like an old man afraid of the long, deep sleep
to come beneath the blankets of Winter-tide,
heavy, cold, silent, heap upon heap.