still it’s strange – autumn

longing for a crisp winter

Sunday after church

On my desk is a picture of two Japanese screens I saw last year at the art museum.   On these screens are paintings of poems hung first from a cherry tree in spring, then from a maple tree in autumn.   The petals, the leaves, the poems, each will blow away, I imagine, tomorrow.   The poets are already gone.   The picture is a souvenir.

My years have gone like that.   Not that I expected any different.   Still, I’ve always been lucky with my health, so I’ve always denied time and gravity their due.   But just now, at sixty, I don’t see as well as I used to.   I need new glasses.   My physician tells me Friday that I have the curse of my family, that one day I won’t see at all.

I step outside.   Each day deepens the color of the linden tree.   My wife looks up from her gardening.   She says, “the veins in the leaves.”   But I don’t get the rest.   Young women drive past laughing, their radio playing something I neither recognize nor like.   Nothing is left of my youth.   Nothing is left of last year.   Nothing but old glasses, old poems, a souvenir, and the leaves which Phoebe sweeps from our porch.

I trust the autumn

the clarity of dying

oddly comforts me

a red leaf lands on my sleeve

it rests before moving on


Filed under: John Samuel Tieman, Prose