Bio Note: I love October. These three poems were written in that month last year, two of them in a “summer cottage” in Berkshire County, MA, a wooded hilly region where I look forward to spending autumn weekends again this year. I write one story a week for The Boston Globe and work on fiction as well as poetry. For links to recent poems, nature pics, and stories, see my blog at prosegarden.blogspot.com.
The Sarabande of the Turkeys
They gather for an evening retreat with the grace of cartoon ballerinas. Clad in the black of mourners, ruffed like circus clowns, rounded fully on the fat of the land, they arrive in boastful numbers and flap their slapstick impersonations of winged beauty, that graceful flight of hollow-boned avian lightness which in the boisterous arrival of Meleagris Linnaeus is disenchanted into the heaviness of tree-tearing, leaf-scattering imitations of flight better suited to the pratfalls of earth-bound clowns than the arabesques of winged visions. Picture, instead, bowling balls in flight: branches breaking, treetops-swaying, havoc-wreaking on the peace of evening, nature’s sweet soiree, caterwauling in the unintended sling-shot consequence of panic-flap feathers, wings too stringy for the table clinging to a branch-snapping, twig-smashing, limb-swaying stumble through slender boughs and heavy air – Who, we wonder aloud, invited this crowd for dinner? What a bunch of turkeys.
The ‘Peace of Heaven’
I know you don't think I'm on your side but, then – there are no sides. Likely you see me as a sinner, but in the heart of that truth toward which we universal wayfarers aim there are neither trespasses nor trespassers. Maybe I don't read your books, or don't read them the same way, but I can read the writing on the wall. I know the good words, I know the place you wish to make your own. At times I am there already, or have sheltered there so often, at so many steps along the way. Walk with me. Walk with me when you play the music of your heart, for, already, I am walking with you.
After the instrumental song "Peace of Heaven" by Solomon Keal, heard on Spotify and YouTube.
Orange-glow October, Berkshire balmy, moving fast: Don’t marry it, it won’t last. Nature its own antidote to so much gold, the bull market for an ecstasy that never gets old. The leaves we admire have no way to know: After their flaunting, living-color show comes a broad-brush, universal recoil; trashed underfoot, strained down to soil. Why doesn’t it make us better to reflect that all become compost, the lost, the elect? Respect the grime of recomposing earth as the miraculous image of our rebirth? We wish the dirt confined to other nails, desire Infinite October, not wintry flails. Flowers that last longest are never the best, but in dark days to come outshine all the rest.
©2021 Robert Knox
Editor's Note: If this poem(s) moves you please consider writing to the author (email address above) to tell her or him. You might say what it is about the poem that moves you. Writing to the author is what builds the community at Verse Virtual. It is very important. -JL