October Offerings – Part XXIII: Something to Delight both Head and Heart

“After the leaves have fallen, we return
To a plain sense of things….
It is difficult even to choose the adjective
For this blank cold, this sadness without cause…” – Wallace Stevens

Below – Stanley Spencer: “Farm Pond”
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A Poem for Today

“Brushing Teeth with My Sister after the Wake,”
By Jim Daniels

at my kitchen sink, the bathroom upstairs
clogged with family from out of town
spending the night after the wake
and the after-wake—cold beverages
have been consumed and comfort food,
leftovers bulging both the fridge
and the mini-fridge. In our fifties, both
half-asleep half-awake, we face each
other. My sister’s smile foams white
down her chin at the end of a day
on which no one has smiled. We laugh.
We may never brush our teeth together again.
No mirror down here to see our haggard faces.
We rinse, we spit. As we were taught.
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“It was one of those perfect fall days when the air is cool enough to wake you up but the sun is also kissing your face.” ― Anita Diamant

Below – Demeter Gul: “Autumn Sunshine”
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“Autumn was her happiest season. There was an expectancy about its sounds and shapes: the distant thunk pomp of leather and young bodies on the practice field near her house made her think of bands and cold Coca-Colas, parched peanuts and the sight of people’s breath in the air. There was even something to look forward to when school started – renewals of old feuds and friendships, weeks of learning again what one half forgot in the long summer. Fall was hot-supper time with everything to eat one missed in the morning when too sleepy to enjoy it.” ― Harper Lee
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A Second Poem for Today

“Lying in a Hammock at William Duffy’s Farm in Pine Island, Minnesota,”
By James Wright

Over my head, I see the bronze butterfly,
Asleep on the black trunk,
blowing like a leaf in green shadow.
Down the ravine behind the empty house,
The cowbells follow one another
Into the distances of the afternoon.
To my right,
In a field of sunlight between two pines,
The droppings of last year’s horses
Blaze up into golden stones.
I lean back, as the evening darkens and comes on.
A chicken hawk floats over, looking for home.
I have wasted my life.

Below – Deb Anderson: “Hammock”
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“And there, next to me, as the east wind blows in early fall, a season open to great migrations, are those lives, threading the air and waters of the sea, that come out of an incomparable darkness, which is also my own.” ― John Hay
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“When everything looks like a magical oil painting, you know you are in Autumn!” ― Mehmet Murat Ildan

Below – Marcia Baldwin: “Autumn Tree”
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A Third Poem for Today

“Autumn,”
By T.E. Hulme

A touch of cold in the Autumn night—
I walked abroad,
And saw the ruddy moon lean over a hedge
Like a red-faced farmer.
I did not stop to speak, but nodded,
And round about were the wistful stars
With white faces like town children.

Below – Vincent van Gogh: “Landscape with Wheat Sheaves and Rising Moon”
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“Autumn is the time of balance and of sacrifice, a time when the light is defeated by darkness, a time when night takes over and brings the coming winter. The ancient wisdom says that those who long for light must face their inner darkness and overcome it.” – Tony Riches
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A Fourth Poem for Today

“Journey Into The Interior,”
By Theodore Roethke

In the long journey out of the self,
There are many detours, washed-out interrupted raw places
Where the shale slides dangerously
And the back wheels hang almost over the edge
At the sudden veering, the moment of turning.
Better to hug close, wary of rubble and falling stones.
The arroyo cracking the road, the wind-bitten buttes, the canyons,
Creeks swollen in midsummer from the flash-flood roaring into the narrow valley.
Reeds beaten flat by wind and rain,
Grey from the long winter, burnt at the base in late summer.
— Or the path narrowing,
Winding upward toward the stream with its sharp stones,
The upland of alder and birchtrees,
Through the swamp alive with quicksand,
The way blocked at last by a fallen fir-tree,
The thickets darkening,
The ravines ugly.
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“Speaking of happiness, those distinctive moments are found outdoors – in the fall, in the winter and always in the mountains where people are few, wildlife is abundant and there is peace in the quiet.” ― Donna Lynn Hope
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