NOVEMBER 2000 - MARCH 2001

I need to run through the woods today
Goldenrod is high,
leaves are newly falling
and as they drift and fly
in my periphery,
I mistake them
for birds and insects

In the browning grasses,
I must pick flowers
before the first hard frost
takes them

Birds at the feeders
are questioning me
with their twitching heads
telling me it's almost time to buy seed

This afternoon,
I'll walk the graveyard
to greet ancestors,
look for deer tracks on the hill,
and check salt licks
for the grooves that tongues make

Apples behind the abandoned house
might be ripe
and dropping from dutiful trees
though only wild takers
bite daintily
and leave the rest to rot

While I was away,
it must have been windy
There are sticks in the yard
to be gathered
for the kindling pile

I need to walk though the fields
and survey summer mowing
where leaves pepper yellow hay,
waving in the breeze

Today will be one of the last warm days
I'll see if the sorrel is still green for soup
There is no time for inside work today
These things must be done
and I have been away too long

©1999 Aubrey Atwater
From Don't Bother the Phoebe

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