Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A Single Leaf

Out for an afternoon walk the other day, I paused in a grove of trees.  No wind stirred the branches overhead.  After a moment, I heard the sound of a single leaf rattling down through the boughs.  The leaf settled to the ground a few feet away from me. 


A last flame,
sole leaf
flagging at the tree tip,
is dragged through the current
down into the water
of the air, and in this final
metamorphosis, spiralling
swims to earth.

Charles Tomlinson, The Way In and Other Poems (1974).

                 John Nash, "The Lake, Little Horkesley Hall" (c. 1958)

     One Day of Autumn

One day of autumn
sun had uncongealed
the frost that clung
wherever shadows spread
their arctic greys among
October grass:  mid-
field an oak still
held its foliage intact
but then began
releasing leaf by leaf
full half,
till like a startled
flock they scattered
on the wind:  and one
more venturesome than all
the others shone far out
a moment in mid-air,
before it glittered off
and sheered into the dip
a stream ran through
to disappear with it.

Charles Tomlinson, The Shaft (1978).

                                    Paul Nash, "The Orchard" (1914)

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