October. Its brilliant festival of dry
and moist decay. Its spicy, musky scent.
The church's parking lot deserted
except for this one witness,
myself, just resting there.
Somewhere a radio plays Flamenco.
A spotlight of sunshine falls on the scattered debris.
Blood-red and gold, a perfect circle of leaves
begins to whirl,
slowly at first, keeping the pattern,
clicking against the blacktop
like heels and castanets,
then faster, faster, faster. . .
round as a ruffle, as the swirling
skirts of an invisible dancer.
Swept off into the tangled woods
by the muscular breeze.
The hoarse cheering of crows.
Inside the dark empty church,
long cool shadows, white-painted wood,
austere Protestant candles thriftily snuffed,
Perhaps a note on the altar,
Gone dancing. Back on Sunday
Dolores Stewart, from The Nature of Things
One of my favorite autumn poems ever, it is printed here with the poet's kind permission. You may visit her online here.