October 7th, 2004


Delicious October

The moon, now down to a broad grin, casts pale light. The clumps of darkness that are trees and bushes are mostly silent, but now and then a leaf will fall. The sound carries even from the oaks near the street's end. Autumn is as yet tentative. A few weeks hence, the rustle of falling leaves will be commonplace, and roofs will be drummed by acorns clattering earthward. I am eager for those long, shadowy nights when gusts of wind make branches creak and twigs snap like dry bones, and tatters of cloud go flying across the moon. It will be good to turn my collar up, zip my jacket, stick my hands in my pockets for warmth, and stand in the midst of the hissing lawn to watch the sparkling stars a while, then go indoors to let my ears thaw and to drink spicy hot orange tea.

Tonight, while it is yet fairly mild, I assuaged my autumnal cravings with a couple of those very light, crunchy and aromatic Stella D'oro cookies they call Breakfast Treats. (The "natural and artificial flavors" mentioned among the ingredients are not revealed, but I know one of them to be almond extract.) Breakfast Treats, indeed! They are much too dramatic to be consumed in the morning sunlight. They cry out to be eaten in a dimly lit room, while the chilly late night dew collects on the dark persimmons and pomegranates.

Another online quiz has been created by yansa. It is too odd not to be posted.
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Evening coolness animates the air which had lain sluggish all afternoon. Now the day is like the memory of a fever which has passed, the world released from its confinement. I am impatient with the closeness of the house, and must be outdoors.

But first, this: I have only today found that Donald Justice died two months ago. Poets are not celebrities, and few of them receive prominent obituaries. In fact, the best of them never really vanish from the world, so maybe they don't need prominent obituaries.

Beyond the Hunting Woods

by Donald Justice

I speak of that great house
Beyond the hunting woods,
Turreted and towered
In nineteenth-century style,
Where fireflies by the hundreds
Leap in the long grass,
Odor of jessamine
And roses, canker-bit,
Recalling famous times
When dame and maiden sipped
Sassafras or wild
Elderberry wine,
While far in the hunting woods
Men after their red hounds
Pursued the mythic beast.

I ask it of a stranger,
In all that great house finding
Not any living thing,
Or of the wind and the weather,
What charm was in that wine
That they should vanish so,
Ladies in their stiff
Bone and clean of limb,
And over the hunting woods
What mist had maddened them
That gentlemen should lose
Not only the beast in view
But Belle and Ginger too,
Nor home from the hunting woods
Ever, ever come?

Another poem by Justice is posted here, in greatpoets.