Two for October

October 01, 1993|By Barbara M. Simon

One day we wake suddenly,

alert, our energy focused

on the sky sailing

beyond the window. The morning

calls us into it. Each leaf

on the dogwood holds a heart,

and the maple is on fire.

There's a cadence to the sunlight,

a purpose to the pyracantha

flaming in the yard. At once,

we desire to be more

alive, in communion

with ourselves. No more than tears,

laughter doesn't follow,

yet we feel hopeful, optimistic

as if the day were a birth.

Odd, that in the nation

of new beginnings, landscape

of opportunity, we court

the season of death,

of dying, days of no promise --

just the absolute beauty

of being beyond which lies

only night and oblivion.

* Today I can see the season

begin. The sky is open,

trees like starving artists

sketching themselves above city streets.

The leaves, diligent as martyrs,

burn in the light,

flames of sacrifice, tongues

for dry voices. The distance

from concrete to cloud startles

me. There is no sheltering

here among the old buildings,

along city streets planned long

before we named each turning

in the year for a new

violence. Today, if the sun glints

from the raven's wing,

we cower. If the crow

calls as the children tumble

from the stairwells into alleys

we drop

away from the day, the crowd.

Nature, governance, control take

flight, vanish like bullets

into an afternoon

when the light falls

like a holocaust and we despair

of both beauty and civilization.

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