Home >> Volume 7, Issue 01

What Autumn Has to Say about My Own Sanctification

Millie Sweeny

I came to sit under the plum tree, for here
it is still
but for the west-blowing autumn
wind, cool-crisp highway of seasons.
Woodpecker drumbeat, wind-chime belling,
kittens tumbling in the barn,
far-flying geese goodbyeing.
Life demands attention.
I bare my feet to sit here
at the feet of many teachers;

today, the trees. The dying has begun.
Lords and ladies, changing into splendor for their final feast,
a phoenix-flame,
burst of blaze and wonder at the final hour, hidden
until the jagged edge of Death scrapes
away the veil, lays bare vermillion-soul.

They have always been so, you know.
Always so, and still not yet—
only begun the peeling, shedding, uncovering,
dying and living.
These roots, trunks, leaves,
green of life, gold of life,
exposed by the shadow of winter
together span the gap: always so (not yet).

And I wait under the changing plum tree
to see, when scraped by winter frost,
revealed in wrinkled frailty, diamond-gleam
and trumpet-blast,
to see the color of my own soul:
red as embers, deeply stained as with sacred blood;
gold as sunset sparkling on the river, gleaming as a crown.

Already, my dear.
(Not yet.)