Tonight, I came home feeling a little different than days of late. Maybe I was a little less exhausted, maybe so far beyond exhausted that I've stopped feeling it. The air was colder and it was heavy dark outside, not the blue night of summer but the plush black of a real autumn night. I made soup and paid October rent and reached for a poem—this poem by May Swenson. It's too long to paste it all in here and I don't know if it's wrong somehow to break out an excerpt (why do I feel it is?) But this part is my favourite part:
Now and then, a red leaf riding
the slow flow of gray water.
From the bridge, see far into
the woods, now that limbs are bare,
ground thick-littered. See,
along the scarcely gliding stream,
the blanched, diminished, ragged
swamp and woods the sun still
spills into. Stand still, stare
hard into bramble and tangle,
past leaning broken trunks,
sprawled roots exposed. Will
something move?—some vision
come to outline? Yes, there—
deep in—a dark bird hangs
in the thicket, stretches a wing.
Reversing his perch, he says one
“Chuck.” His shoulder-patch
that should be red looks gray.
This old redwing has decided to
stay, this year, not join the
strenuous migration. Better here,
in the familiar, to fade.