The season turns

a racket in the tall cypress
splits the sweep of its upper limbs
a ragged etching of graffiti
like a crown of thorns

a squall of crows squabbles
for a lodging on the bough
feathers ruffled by a blast of wind
flutter in a ragging breeze

the chain saw and the digger
leave their tracks of scarred earth
fences felled and soil turned over
by an intruding harvest storm

the path below is strewn
with a shake of sweet chestnut
blown along in rolls like wooly baubles
prickly green burst-open chestnut red
the vines stretched low with grapes
the ripening a ‘johnny come lately’
of Indian summer set a-trembling
at the shock of the bird scarer

the chestnut sprawl beneath my tread
lies amiss beneath the tall spruce
like cuckoo debris driven to the wrong place
by an indifferent tenant wind

I step over the hoard gingerly
in orange pumps reminder
of the summer almost gone
ablaze in the sodden grass

dragonflies on the bridge
prance in their final hours
the fishermen count the days
before the storm of autumn

and summer soon will be all gone


conversation with a fisherman:

the deer morph from leafy screens
shy, reticent and canny
to the changed air

the mole seeks its chance to forage
pragmatic swimmer carried
by strokes meant for digging earth

a rabbit flees from ferrets
confused enough to tarry
at the lake’s edge
before the necessary plunge

and all the while
leather carps indulge
slow, sluggish and unhurried
by the fishermen

all is hidden from the busy walker
the strolling mother and her buggy
the lovers wrapped in dreamy vistas
the couple with the wheelchair

they wow the swooping swans
they mew the gosling geese
survey the vines’ late ripening
and spy the parrot in its showy flight

and all the while in quiet diligence

the gardener trims and prunes and tidies
the steward notes the signs of growing stock
the groundsman checks for wear and tear
the fisherman plays hide and seek with fish

so that “when you good folk have all gone home”
the deer can morph from leafy screens
and retrieve the landscape as their own

“when you good folk have all gone home”