In a couple of weeks, summer will make way for autumn in temperate climates. Autumn is a favorite season of poets from many different traditions, both Asian and Western. In this post, I share three of my own poems about this season. One is a haiku (a three-line Japanese poetic form); the other two are memoirs to autumn as a season of necessary and beneficial change.
When we think of autumn, two things usually come to our minds: the changing colors of leaves and the falling of leaves. Yet, familiar as these images are, do we really know why they happen? The autumnal fall of leaves seems wasteful and destructive to us, happening just when there is a burst of brilliant yellow, orange and reds in the trees. But nature knows what it is doing. Green leaves are redundant for photosynthesis during the dark days of winter. Shedding leaves free a tree of dry, brittle and probably insect-ridden leaves which would otherwise sap the tree of what little energy it produces and therefore, makes good sense from a self-preservation point of view. Finally, leaves that fall to the ground are not wasted because they become nutrients that fertilize the earth, a preparation for the renewal of growth. Perhaps it is us who needs to take a leaf, so to speak, from nature. Are we holding on to things that we should let go to make way for renewal, for a new spring in our souls?
All I need is
an open window.
Fall, Leaves, Rise
The leaves are falling again
though they’ve barely turned gold.
The air is chilling again
though it’s barely past summer’s high.
From where we are,
the fruitful days are numbered.
Ask the trees; they will say
it’s only sleep.
What is shed is shed for spring.
What is left will endure winter’s sting.
Save your regrets for another day.
Sing to the green growth
that’s coming your way.
I will go to the maples
to see them let go,
to see how simply they let go,
letting fall the riches of a season.
returning to the earth
as though into deep sleep.
How can the heart not rejoice
in the peace of this season?
So much light despite the grayness,
so much to learn
about how to care
and not to care?