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The October Blood – Part One

The October Blood – Part One

Yesterday we hosted a day here entitled ‘Living the Lessons of Autumn’. We tried to get under the skin of the season and to feel how the season works it way under our defenses. The mist sat in the valley all day and added a deep quiet and stillness to our reveries. Below is my poem from my first collection – The Call of the Unwritten. It charts the way autumn enters the psyche (soul) and both consciously and unconsciously, even subliminally shapes us.

The day and the poem are an attempt to make conscious what is under the surface. This process is transformational as it makes us participants and not sufferers. Often, too, we bury the gold of the season by way of inattention, too busy to stop and hold the richness of the reddening leaves and their glorious falling, to harvest all that has been planted in the high days of summer. This is my attempt at such consciousness, perhaps you could share yours too.



October is such an untidy month;

the leaves fall quicker than I can

sweep them, and my gutters are

crammed with their moldy corpses.

The mizzle the wind spills over

the eve’s edge makes the stones

of my home clammy. The clocks

have made their yearly march

back to winter quarters, and the

dogs’ paws mark a muddy muddle

on my kitchen floor. It is a time for

writing, for decanting the juices

that have fermented all summer.

But I am so distressed by the length

of each night and the bleak looks the

leaf dropping beeches give me when I

pass them in the valley, that I fear to sit

at my table and face the vacuity of the page.

I feel so personally the inborn

demise confided to me by the

dying wasp or the departing swallow;

that I can only write the grubby cantos

of autumn bonfires, whose smoke

curls and fades in the misty air.

These wisps of disconsolation

are a fleeting eulogy to falling,

a carol to the withering season.

From the Call of the Unwritten