ode to autumn


Autumn, she’s a gift to me
(and always my favourite season)
that soft sun,
slow golden unleaving -

she is the mandarin
I’m peeling with my hands
by the back door
(and all the pips I find
under my boys’ beds)
the sound of bees
about the verbena bush

she’s the morning frost,
the late afternoon walks,
sandpit tunnels, the birds
in the trees:
cockatoos, galahs,
magpies, crows, kookaburras,
goshawks, willy wagtails fanning -
and the two black swans
that appeared one morning
in the dam

she’s the velvet ears
of freshly born calves,
the green spear-tips
of daffodil bulbs
the brownest, driest, heat-bleached earth
soaked with longed-for rain
and the burst of bright bright green -

she’s birthdays and busyness
chickens, eggs, children, dishes -
the dance of wants and needs and jobs
the first boxes packed, virus caught,
windows thrust open, weeds pulled -

she’s the steam of morning, midday,
afternoon, late afternoon and evening tea -

she’s the season of letting
what must fall away, go -
of sitting gently with old shadows,
speaking kind words to fresh fears
but finding beauty there -

and oh, in all those golden leaves…