Lucifer Wintering

That immortal clutch of oak leaves
I spoke of? The ones immune to wind,
November, to the failing sun itself? Gone.

Theirs was a lingering.
Anonymous now, brown bristles
in a ravenous broom, I hear
their weightless roving their
scuttling fanfares their
helpless tumbling.

No rain will green their brittle skins,
no thaw rekindle them to life.

Who told the clement leaves
they were hunger, clamor, glory itself;
sparks struck from the endless
rind of light that breeds us all?

What bewitched the green leaves?
What inner fire fanned them luminous,
made of them wings, set them humming,
bartering away a promised forever
for one single incandescent hour?

Like Lucifer wintering, lit but dimly
by the tangled residue of plunging stars,
the once emboldened leaves lie fallen,
tallow drifts of finished summers,
blinded swimmers borne along by
bright spells of the season's gathered wind.

Autumn is like that, you said: A wise counselor
who palliates with something golden
the prospect of the darkening curve. It is good,
you said, for us to be weightless, rootless, roaming;
it tells us we are home.,

by Timothy Nolan

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