this is no time for tenderness, for blooming.
seventeen days before the sun’s center rays
brush the equator on its movement south
we open eyes to paler light, morning mist
& the first sight of exhaled breath since spring
in a thin threat foreshadowing equinox
despite the afternoon heat.  already
some trees surrender before the autumnal point,
shedding leaves in their haste to embrace
cooler, quieter nights.  There is weight
but also beauty in that breaking down
& giving up, leaves dropping in sighs
in that first riot of color crisping to brown
after collecting in flamed layers
to crackle under feet

bringing to mind those wicker men
but lacking smoke & sacrifice–heatless hunger
uncovering the branched, brittle bones
of trees; skeletal fingers stretching to scrape sky
as if to grasp and hold tightly
something elusive as change

About Susan L Daniels

I am a firm believer that politics are personal, that faith is expressed through action, and that life is something that must be loved and lived authentically--or why bother with any of it?
This entry was posted in New Free Verse and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

64 Responses to

  1. BroadBlogs says:


    Strange that I love both summer and fall, but I always feel a sense of mourning at this change.

  2. davidtrudel says:

    You’ve painted a beautiful landscape, pure artistry!

  3. nelle says:

    Fall is fun to write, and you do great work with it.

  4. I have run out of words! But you paint it so well!

  5. Mary says:

    Beautiful, Susan…yes, the first site of exhaled breath. So very true. I like the idea of there being weight but also beauty in breaking down and giving up. So many beautiful phrases!

  6. brian miller says:

    There is weight
    but also beauty in that breaking down
    & giving up…nice…love that…true in the season and often in life…that last stanza though is killer….intense imagery….like it much…

  7. Claudia says:

    we open eyes to paler light, morning mist
    & the first sight of exhaled breath since spring…this is beautiful….love, love the exhaling breath…and image that will stick with me…

  8. yelena says:

    i so enjoyed the image of trees surrendering before the autumn shedding leaves
    for quieter nights..there is a special solemn beauty within this poetic piece. thanks for sharing, Susan~

  9. Louise says:

    There is something about Autumn that I love…you’ve captured it here…intense & gorgeous poem 🙂

  10. leahJlynn says:

    powerful it felt like a tale that needed to be told. loved it

  11. I really enjoyed this one, full of clear and vivid images along with an undercurrent of sadness that change can sometimes bring.

  12. Leavs dropping in sighs… and first sight of our own breath since spring…so many lovely lines in this Susan.
    Fabulous write!

  13. scraping the sky to hold something elusive as change….liked it very much indeed. Beautifully painted autumn.

  14. I like the last 3 lines..elusive indeed is change ~ Lovely writing ~


  15. Particularly like the idea of the trees “surrendering” and the sinister images of the wicker man and sacrifice potentially ahead. Time to find a jumper I think!

  16. Nicely alliterative with wonderful imagery

  17. Sabio Lantz says:

    Trees grasping elusive change — very nice!

  18. Poet Laundry says:

    So very good. You captured it all expertly. Excellent write.

  19. that last stanza is gorgeous.

  20. danadampier says:

    Here too the trees have already started the process of losing leaves.I’m wishing and dreaming of Autumn now!

  21. Mohana says:

    great piece, this one, Susan!

  22. clawfish says:

    A resonant seasonal thrum with as many textures

  23. David King says:

    There is weight
    but also beauty in that breaking down
    & giving up,

    Superb! Love the poem.

  24. dani says:

    i love this! the ending is fabulous!

  25. welshstream says:

    A wonderful poem that merits several re-reads … some lovely lines .. particularly liked ‘but also beauty in that breaking down/ & giving up, leaves dropping in sighs’ Thoroughly enjoyed it.

  26. poemsofhateandhope says:

    A flowing piece Susan – almost like this was free- written… Just cascades down the page….you really capture that change that Autumn brings…buvtheimagery and words used give it a spectral, haunting quality….exactly why I love this time of year!

  27. Love your encompassing images – the way they move you through a transition in fact and in music – through word use and arrangement you give us a complete experience. Beautiful.

  28. kkkkaty says:

    Leaves dropping as sighs was my favorite part, too, but add up each phrase and it’s all a perfect depiction of autumn!

  29. ds says:

    I love the leaves dropping in sighs (I see I am not alone), and the thought of trees trying to grasp elusive change. I think that is what I love most about autumn, and it seems that you do, too. Thank you.

  30. Dick Jones says:

    Difficult to get a new slant on autumn, but this manages freshness of perspective and the appropriate sense of melancholy at the passing of all things. I like the wicker man reference leading into the skeletal resistance to change.

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