Summer is over now;
The chill kiss of winter is stayed –
– somewhere to the north, and faraway, in frosted time.
It’s late afternoon – and the sun sets – in autumn.
From my window, and quite nearby,
the silver birch is turned to gold;
The tall tall birch stands in quiet fire –
the birch I planted years ago.
It glitters – and now reminds me, strangely,
of lost treasure chests, all open –
and filled with coins a’sparkle and polished gleaming –
But then a zephyr stirs –
And, one by one, a few leaves fall:
They fall to earth and cast a magic carpet
upon the soft mown grass.
I gaze – and wonder …
And so the leaves lie still – like fallen soldiers –
– just as the poet said.
But, more: a blue smoke from distant bonfires
drifts and ghosts the pale clear sky
in shapes – to mourn the dead and dying.
Just then, a silken mist rises from the fields,
and, against the dying light, a happy band of goldfinches
arrives to dance atop the tall tall birch.
I smile: They’ve saved the last dance – just for me.