A whorl of wind today,

The woods fall back in layers

Yellowed, limed, and browned

On the pumpkin ground,

The world in flight

Below the unblinking eye

Of a terrible sky.

Never has a hay bale

Smelled so bright,

As sharp and pale

As dying trees,

But still the air too blue,

Too filled with bees,

The distant fields

Too brisk, too real

To be just right.

Land closes in,

A whirl of whims

And chlorophyll

At autumn's end;

The forests spill 

With fallen limbs.

Nothing means

The same this year:

Sun beats down

In beams, not heat,

In glints, not sight:

Clear as glass,

Blank as white.

Entire scenes 

Have disappeared,

Or come about

Without a trace

Of sparkle, burst, or grace.


And yet no doubt 

The changing of the leaves

Takes place:

Even galaxies have dreams,


Energy that stares

Back at us from space,

Some future that believes

In its childhood face.


September 12th, 2001

Tippet Alley


May 13th, 2017