In His Fallen Leaf Season

I will not think of you
Lying here old and withered
Like fallen leaves in November,
Helpless in your ocher valleyed season
Slowing your walk,
Slurring your talk.
Rather, I will see you
Spirited as the wind-tossed grain
You threshed each fall,
Strong as the great cottonwoods
Shading your home, teacher of plowing
And sage words.
Furrowed in my memory
Is the tune you whistled
As you pioneered each day.
I will imitate it,
Letting it rebound from son to son
Like flat stones flung across water,
The legacy of your tall tree spirit
Rippling into an endless circling of family.

Sonnet in Autumn

My autumn is not fields of lifelessness,
Nor rotting piles of past-ripe summertime,
Nor pasture streams, thick-clogged with watercress
And dried up straw and leaves and dead brooklime.
It could be that if I were one to think
A withered thing is dead, I’d leave it so;
But I like age that does not wince or shrink,
That’s crisp and spry. And I like years that grow
With neatness and a trim perennial stride.
I’ve Fall-plowed all my land and cleared the brush
Out of the shallow streams. And side by side
In homemade bins lie piles of summer’s lush.
Now as I watch the year grow autumn old,
The only age I see is deepening gold.


Any objective gardener
Will quickly concede
Whatever is growing where it doesn’t belong
Is a weed;
While this most effective,
Objective view, we allow,
How do you feel about where you are growing
Just now?

[illustration] “Wallsburg, Utah,” by Paul Salisbury