PROMPT #404 – THE FALL OF AUTUMN

Summer is ready to slip away quietly. Not with any parade or marching band. It just beats a hasty retreat. And with its departure, we herald in the autumnal equinox. So we will write autumn poems. But…Your poem will present the essence of autumn, full of descriptive language and imagery. Replete with the colorful sights and aromas. However, your poem will NOT contain the words Fall or Autumn anywhere in your verse. Not in the body and not in the title. We will know it is an autumnal poem by your words alone (as long as none of the words are Fall or Autumn – or any derivation of either!) Take us into the season which is upon us… whatever it’s called.

MARIE’S DEPICTION:

Ponderings

Smacks of death, say some.
But I smell Mom’s pies. Hear Dad’s
marching band pre-games.

Feel crisp air against
my sometimes still-a-bit-tanned-
from-summertime skin.

Marvel at the sky’s
puffy white and charcoal clouds
in deep blue setting.

Relish the jewel-tones
gradually gracing trees,
begging wonderment.

Enjoy leaves crunching
beneath the tires of my bike,
or cute-boot-dressed feet.

Experience leaves
raked in a pile over my
head, then jumping in.

Savor the taste of
a hardy stew with biscuits,
or bowl of chili.

Memories bring smiles,
like the Robbins Avenue
Pizza (a rare treat),

enjoyed on our porch
after walking home from a
nighttime football game.

Smacks of death, say some.
But my senses are filled with
what I’ve fallen for.

© Marie Elena Good, 2022

(An extraordinary piece, Pard! IMHO!)

WALT’S PRESENTATION:

AS THE DAYS DISSIPATE

The sun's glow doesn't last long past seven,
and all the splendor of Heaven descends
in a rapid cascade of color and shadow.
Archangel's wings stir the winds of change
and coolness becomes the shroud that engulfs you
in hues of crimson, and rust, and brown decay.
The scents fill your nostrils; burning leaves, stew
brewing, and you wish you could capture it all 
in your imperfect words. Birds prepare to head south, 
without much to carry but their songs. 
Before long, winter will approach, encroaching on all 
who mourn her sorry demise; her eyes, vacant and sad.

(C) Walter J Wojtanik - 2022

167 thoughts on “PROMPT #404 – THE FALL OF AUTUMN

  1. Marie, Walt’s IMHO is spot on; your series of seventeens is marvellous, up to and including that sly last line. Wonderful, IMHO!

  2. THE TRUMPET CALL

    Can you feel the waning, reluctant heat
    ricocheting off the pavement?

    Can you feel the subtle shift of dew
    point in the air through the breeze?

    Can you feel the beat of marching
    bands inciting gladiators ready for battle?

    Can you see their stoic, fearless gaze?
    The resolve in their cold, misty breath?

    Can you hear the trumpet call for all—
    living trees to drop their brightest and best?

    Benjamin Thomas

  3. FIRST HALLOWE’EN

    I stood there, dressed to be a nag
    and held my orange shopping bag,
    and with bravado rang the bell
    that might have called the hordes of Hell.
    My kneecaps shook; likewise my hand,
    but someone offered candy and
    a smile to speed me on my way,
    saying to me,”I thought you’d neigh!”
    This greeting tricked my nascent fright
    and sent me forth into a night
    of witches wearing fireflies
    and pumpkins bearing prancing eyes
    as dry leaves scattered on the lawns
    and goblins chattered stifled yawns.

  4. Spiced

    Apple cider appears in the grocery store,
    so I know it is time
    Time to drive to the country,
    down two lane roads lined with
    Maple trees just starting to turn yellow
    Time to find the orchard with a stand
    at the end of a lane, laden with squashes
    and pumpkins, pears and apples
    Time to peel and core and chop,
    sprinkle cinnamon and cloves and nutmeg –
    just a splash of maple syrup for sweetness
    Time to fill the big slow cooker to its rim,
    wait 12 hours as the house fills with
    a spiciness that soothes the soul
    Time to say goodbye to ubiquitous
    pumpkin spice and hello to apple butter

    • This is satisfying to all my senses, Candy! Makes me want to make apple butter again. It’s been years, for me.

      Interesting story: When my ex-husband and I were going through a divorce, I sold our house myself. I was in the middle of canning apple butter from the Jonothan apples on our property, when I got a call from a couple wanting to come right over to see the house. I told them that is fine, but the kitchen is a mess. Well, they walked in to the scent of apple butter cooking on my 6-burner stove, and were sold in an instant! True story!

  5. This Time

    All of man’s seasons
    bring natural inventions,
    peace the best of them.

    No light without dark.
    No seasons without changes.
    No hope without peace.

    Summer’s final breath,
    ravens scouting this year’s nests,
    monks still pray for peace.

    Living mindfully
    in the holidays to come.
    Peace is a challenge.

    Days of thanksgiving
    will bring us friendship and joy.
    There is bliss in peace.

    Seeking awareness
    before winter’s arrival.
    Peace may still flow in.

    As the cold draws near,
    perhaps we’ll tread consciously.
    Peace is every step.

    One is not separate
    from the earth at any time.
    With peace, all are one.

    Sowing loans, not alms.
    planting hope in the world,
    one peace at a time.

    Turning towards others.
    Living with an open heart.
    Gliding into peace.

    At all times, choose life.
    Choose friends and love and sharing.
    Most of all, choose peace.

  6. SENSATIONAL SEASON

    outside
    attuned to the crisp, fresh air
    listening to the welcomed
    crunch of leaves
    beneath our stomping feet
    as the salty old brown ones fall
    a sure sign of changes to come

    inside
    warmth of new, cozy sweaters
    aroma filled houses
    pumpkin spice everywhere
    hot apple cider
    ready on the stove
    warm, tasty treats in the oven

    outside
    wind is gaining strength
    even those last remaining leaves
    will hear the signal
    their time has come
    the rich, vivid colors
    will have their last few moments
    to shine
    hues
    bright views
    foliage for the ages
    on full display
    until the ever so sly chills of winter
    tap them on the tip
    of their colorful edges
    with that knowing nod
    the frozen whisper of
    ‘Let go,
    I’ll need that branch for snow’!

    inside
    the warm glow of our evening fires
    remind us summer had her shine
    beaches fade into memory
    as sweatpants become the norm
    football, feasts and family
    will start the steady flow
    as we glow
    from the inside
    out
    full of all our own sensations
    complete now
    without any doubt

    (c) Janet Rice Carnahan 2022

  7. Ending and Beginning

    It is the end of long days
    And sultry nights
    Where my cotton gown
    Clung to my sticky skin.
    The days when clothes
    Were a nuisance,
    And I wanted to slip naked
    Into a pool of cool water,
    Floating the days away.

    It is the beginning of long nights
    And days where the forests
    Seemed to blaze as fireworks
    For days until the harvest of leaves begins.
    The air musky like the scent of a man,
    And winds were soft and caressing.
    The air rustled like a taffeta gown
    As it flowed through dying leaves.
    The night with stars brilliant
    As rhinestones I wear on my jacket.

    It was the end of carefree days
    Of children playing in parks,
    As mothers strolling their babies,
    And fathers cooked outdoors.

    It was the beginning of chilly days
    And sitting by a fire close to someone
    In silent moments of tenderness, and
    Long nights warm under blankets.

    It was the end of heat unbearable to bear,
    And the beginning of soft bearable days.
    It was the ending and beginning
    For all things in this life
    Have an ending and a beginning.

    Mary Elizabeth Todd
    September 18, 2022

  8. The day that everything changed…

    The first frost and freeze had fallen,
    And all the green was brown.
    Halloween was behind us,
    And we were living in a new town.

    Sunday morning was clear blue day,
    As my brother and his friend slipped away
    To the mountain forest miles
    From where we worshipped,
    And said the Lord’s prayer…
    Not knowing how much that prayer was needed.

    Up on that mountain
    A shot shattered the stillness
    When a prank
    Went terribly wrong.
    Two friends racing down a mountain
    One in shock and the other bleeding.

    In the stillness before the sermon,
    We sat waiting for words of wisdom,
    But that day those words
    Were not said by the preacher,
    But our father.
    We were told to go to the doctor’s office
    A couple of blocks away…
    My father walked fast, and I clung to his pocket…
    Seeing the clear blue sky turn dark,
    And watching dead leaves fall to the ground.

    There my brother laid icy white
    And his friend was shaking from sorrow.
    My father taught us how to forgive
    Before we know how bad things could be.
    A lesson we both remembered.

    As the ambulance raced away,
    And I went home with strangers…
    My tears fell and watered the fear
    That was born in me, and
    I have fought all my life.

    I did not know for a day
    That my brother had survived.
    Scarred and changed like I had been.
    His scars were seen; mine hidden deep within-

    As the leaves begin
    To change from army green to blazing colors…
    I am brought back to when I was eight,
    And the sunlight in the church
    Was filled with hope,
    And forest was filled with fear.

    Fear lived with me from that day,
    And tried to crowd out hope.
    Hope is brilliant as the sunlight
    In that church, and has guided me
    To where the fear becomes
    A memory connected to that day
    When it was born in me.

    Mary Elizabeth Todd
    September 18, 2022

  9. Walt, thank you for your kind and encouraging words! As always, your poem sets a high bar for us all. This one is gorgeous, and carries a quiet and solemn yet lovely mood with it. Amazing.

    All: The array of poems in response to Walt’s prompt are, once again, varied and skillful. What a great group of poets we have here! Love to you all!

  10. When the hoary frost comes…

    I know the celebrations of family and faith
    Will soon arrive, and we will rejoice
    And not look back but be there
    In the present giving love…

    When the silver white frost
    Dusts my windshield,
    And I pull my scrapper out…
    But by noon, my sweater is too warm,
    I remember the laughter
    Of those I cannot hold,
    And want to do again.

    As the leaves of grass and weeds
    Are covered in the early frost…
    The ghosts come calling,
    And I hear a muffled laugh,
    And turn around, but
    They are not there…
    And my heart regrets
    That they are gone.

    As shadows come early
    As twilight falls, and
    Harvested apples
    Make an apple pie
    Or cooked up for apples sauce
    To eat with toast on a cold-water morning,
    I ponder over this life of mine…
    And fear another loss…

    For in the month of the hoary frost,
    Death has often come calling.
    I feel my soul straighten its backbone,
    And ready itself for sorrow, but
    By the time of celebrations
    I know this year it will not be true.

    I feel the air begin to change…
    Six maybe eight weeks
    Until the silvered frost
    Clings to the grass and weeds,
    And I will be ready…
    With my backbone straight.

    Mary Elizabeth Todd
    September 18, 2022

  11. The Pilgrimage…

    The leaves are changing,
    And leaf-lookers
    Ride over the parkways slow
    To take in the splendor,
    As the trees dress in their ball gowns.

    Each year the older ones
    Come looking for colors…
    They pocket postcard pictures
    Showing ridges and hollows
    Filled with oranges, reds, and golds.

    They stop at overlooks, and
    Drive entirely too slow,
    But this is their pilgrimage and
    They come each year
    To touch the beauty…
    With their eyes,
    And smell the swarm of senses
    Drifting on each breeze.

    They eat the taste of fresh apples,
    And cabbage that grows sweeter
    In the mountain air and watered
    By mountain springs.
    Their coffee tastes warm and homey,
    And they know they will come again.

    They look for crafts
    Made by mountain folk, and
    Place it where they can remember…
    The yearly roaming to spot the first leaf change,
    And they will vanish
    When those leaves tumble brown
    Down to the earth, and by spring
    They will be debris making new dirt.

    When I was young,
    I rolled my eyes at those old ones
    In their pilgrimage,
    But now that I am older,
    I want to join them
    Searching for that glimpse of beauty
    Defining the ridges and hollows.

    Mary Elizabeth Todd
    September 18, 2022

  12. Signposts

    You see them borne on a hot west wind
    Monarchs and barn swallows mourning doves
    limning wires and the liquid notes of bluebirds
    dancing across shortening days

    fire ripples through hedgerows as sumac glows red
    furled maroon leaves dropping like ash
    beside banks of rough-leaf dogwood gone scarlet
    and even the utility pole’s once green tower
    of poison ivy burns orange and tangerine
    messaging that something’s afoot

    along backroads goldenrods glow and giant milkweeds stiffen
    their broad leaves against cooler nights, sunflowers bending
    beneath heavy heads and riding goldfinches gorging
    on rich seed as birds range in from the fields
    in spite of snow-blanketed side roads
    where black snakeroot rises to fill right-of-ways
    its white umbels stark above red-top and brome

    dried-down corn rustles waiting for clacking combines
    and flocks of frenzied crows picking kernels even as
    soybeans begin to glow with their own thousand suns
    seas of yellow beneath cloudless skies, bean pods
    hanging heavy ahead of first frost and west of the creek
    forgotten melons dot truck farms, vines but stringy webs
    pumpkins awaiting harvest but one field over where
    gourds drape fences lime-green crooknecks and ghost orbs

    on the blacktop round bales balanced on hay trucks
    send wisps of hay spinning across the two-lane
    air rich with smells you try to grasp even though
    they slip through your fingers only to lodge with
    your breath to fill lungs and soul with something
    tenacious like the young bald eagle trying to grasp
    the box turtle tucked in carapace and hinged plastron
    its mystery keeping the raptor so focused
    on its puzzle you parked alongside and talked
    for minutes as you absorbed its ferocity and beauty

    downhill flocks of turkeys block the road trailed
    by strings of growing poults, every smell, every creature
    some clue as to what might be happening yet
    the secret left untold like eagle and turtle
    leafy kaleidoscope and corn, bluebirds and barn swallows
    all bearing tidings and leaving me to tie it all up
    tucked into my blue bandanna at the end
    of my sturdy cedar stick walking stick
    to take with me
    whatever it is.

    Marie & Walt, stellar starts to this mystery which shall not be named!!
    Loved them both!! as well as this declicious prompt!

  13. The Hunter’s Moon

    When the Hunter’s Moon
    Becomes a soft ruby glow,
    And the stars move closer, and
    The air is even and crisp,
    It is when I like to walk into the night,
    And feel the power of the pull
    Of life teeming about me
    Before the birds fly south,
    And those that sleep out the cold days
    Burrow deep in a place to sleep
    Until the warmth rises to wake them.

    The owls whooo call out
    In the dark, and fly quietly
    To catch their prey.
    For during the Hunter’s Moon
    It is the beginning of the quiet days
    When nature speaks in whispers,
    Especially in the dark of night.

    It is the time when I am alone,
    But not alone for nature speaks to me
    Profoundly, and I hunger for those moments
    That are deep…
    I love people who make me laugh,
    And make me smile,
    And bring a tear to my eye
    When they are gone,
    But most do not speak untold thoughts to me,
    And I hunger for mysteries of life

    It is under the Hunter Moon
    That nature revives me, and
    Speaks of mysteries
    Hidden in shadows and coves…
    The secrets we hide
    Are caverns to be discovered,
    But we often shy from them.
    I would like you to walk with me
    Under the Hunter’s moon
    When the leaves are changing
    And the air is crisp
    To learn the secrets of our hearts.

    Mary Elizabeth Todd
    September 18, 2022

  14. Aromatics

    Aromatic apple cider
    freshly pressed,
    perfumes the air,
    delights the tongue.
    Plump orange
    pumpkins await
    picking and pies.
    There’s a chill
    in the air. Perhaps
    a light jacket
    is needed to shoot
    hoops across the street
    where caramel, burgundy,
    and mustard shades
    float in a free-form
    mosaic.

  15. RESISTING THE RULE

    Somehow, somewhere it seems
    a lever has been pulled; and
    the twist of seasons artfully has
    begun.

    Where some upstanding citizens
    resist the rule—the inevitable changing of
    crowns—yet the sudden complexion
    of their leaves reveals what’s true.

    ©️ Benjamin Thomas

  16. whispers of

    crown of crimson maple leaves
    skies to the west burnt umber
    a changing slant of light
    stippled waters of a lagoon
    another reflection told
    solace found in a moment’s silence
    memories held dear
    carried through generations
    I tell others of a friend
    a high school classmate
    who died in his sleep
    we hadn’t seen each other
    for almost thirty years
    as time slipped out of our hands
    but I keep his essence alive with words
    and when conversations pause
    a heartfelt stillness a touch of dusk
    a harvest moon appears
    messages received from
    high school classmates
    for our fiftieth reunion
    resonate
    a dinner at a country club
    and tour of the high school planned
    in october
    when crimson leaves dance and fall
    a time of passage
    yet a time
    to relive our years

  17. When The Master Paints The Landscape

    The brush strokes of the Master
    Shine bright from leaf to leaf
    As He paints the beauty of the Northern wood
    In a period all too brief

    It’s a scene of awesome beauty
    That only a Master could paint
    It marks the change of the seasons each year
    From hot summer heat to quaint

    The greens of summer whither
    As bright colors paint the leaves
    With the Master’s brush strokes on every one
    It’s a beauty that’s hard to believe

    When the Master paints the landscape
    The beauty takes my breath away
    This could only happen by the hand of God
    The Master of all we survey

  18. I found this in my memories in FB… forgot I wrote it…

    When I stopped at my mailbox tonight- I saw the full moon sort of a soft golden orange color- and oh so big. I stood there looking at it and thought this-

    ” I was weary and on my way home..
    Just one mile left to go when I turned on the last country road.
    In the road was a yearling doe-
    She froze in place for a moment and
    Then she bounded across the field-
    more graceful than any ballet dancer
    I had seen.
    I stopped to get my mail and
    Saw a tangerine moon hanging huge
    In the sky –
    It was twilight and night was just beginning,
    And the moon was standing still
    Waiting for the Earth to turn slowly towards it
    Making us think the Moon moves and not us.
    I stood quietly by my mailbox a moment or two
    To take in the site of the moon rising over
    Hayfields newly mowed with bales of hay waiting to be used.
    It was too lovely to leave, but I was well past weary
    Though my soul had been revived.

    Mary Elizabeth Todd September 19, 2013
    Good night y’all Have a good Friday..

  19. When day and night become briefly equal

    We like to think we are all equal,
    But like those two times a year
    When day and night are equal…
    So, it is for us…

    We want to be fair…
    But as the moon rises earlier,
    And the sun sets earlier
    Or vice versa…
    There are some who want
    The longer days,
    And others who want the longer nights.
    Only twice a year is it fair…

    I have my rights I have heard the cry…
    But not if the rights
    Take another one’s rights…
    We do not have that right at all,
    And certainly, do not have the right
    To say I wanted a longer day,
    With sunshine and playtime outside
    While the boy with the snowboard
    Wants it to snow every day…

    The two seasons
    That lie between those long days,
    And those long nights
    Begin with everything equal…
    And end with everything
    Cattywampus.

    I will enjoy the days we are equal
    In our choice of which is best
    The day or the night…
    Knowing we are at the end and beginning
    In the same hours…

    Mary Elizabeth Todd
    September 19, 2022

  20. Such a wonderful flourish of words you all offer for this prompt. Marie expresses her awe and I can only confirm it. We have the cream of the poetic crop contributing here. Everything that poetry has meant to us over the past thirteen years lives on in your expressive hearts. Thank you all! Walt

  21. Something More

    The gnarled tree
    Formed a Y
    On a small hill

    Its aged curved branches
    Stark against orange leaves
    Filling the sky

    A cool breeze
    Scattered leaves
    Making a pretty carpet

    Friends rested on the hill
    Their backs against the trunk
    Breathing in the crisp air

    Their hands found one another
    Their friendship had matured
    Like the brilliant leaves

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