Sunday, November 20, 2011

"Falling Leaves and Early Snow," by Kenneth Rexroth

In the years to come they will say,
"They fell like the leaves
In the autumn of nineteen thirty-nine."
November has come to the forest,
To the meadows where we picked the cyclamen.
The year fades with the white frost
On the brown sedge in the hazy meadows,
Where the deer tracks were black in the morning.
Ice forms in the shadows;
Disheveled maples hang over the water;
Deep gold sunlight glistens on the shrunken stream.
Somnolent trout move through pillars of brown and gold.
The yellow maple leaves eddy above them,
The glittering leaves of the cottonwood,
The olive, velvety alder leaves,
The scarlet dogwood leaves,
Most poignant of all.

In the afternoon thin blades of cloud
Move over the mountains;
The storm clouds follow them;
Fine rain falls without wind.
The forest is filled with wet resonant silence.
When the rain pauses the clouds
Cling to the cliffs and the waterfalls.
In the evening the wind changes;
Snow falls in the sunset.
We stand in the snowy twilight
And watch the moon rise in a breach of cloud.
Between the black pines lie narrow bands of moonlight,
Glimmering with floating snow.
An owl cries in the sifting darkness.
The moon has a sheen like a glacier.
"Falling Leaves and Early Snow" by Kenneth Rexroth, from The Collected Shorter Poems. © New Directions Publishing Corporations, 2003. 

This poem, and others on this blog, thanks to The Writer's Almanac.

4 comments:

  1. Thanks for reintroducing me to Rexroth.

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  2. Todd: That's the way I felt when I saw this poem. I've always liked Rexroth, but didn't know this poem. A gem.

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  3. Thanks, Dustin. I like the way you expressed that. I felt the same way, like coming to the end of an amazing journey.

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