Autumnal Greeting

Technical difficulties currently prevent me from posting the Autumnal Equinox Hymn — I left the notebook at the Synagogue the other night, and so it’s somewhat unpolished. I don’t like it yet. That will come soon. In the meantime, I finished another in the Great Year cycle.

Here is the Autumnal Greeting:

Hail to thee, Autumn, when the tide runs strong,
and daylight and darkness hold equal sway.
For now, green leaves remain where they belong,
but coming tempests shall blow them away.
Then every bare gray trunk shall sweep the sky;
then every wren shall seek a southern nest.
Swans return on their mighty migration.
In the field, mullein and yarrow will die.
Thunder and rain will roll out of the west,
and steaming hot breath shall be our portion

when white oak leaves become brittle, and fall;
when chicory and snakeroot dry to dust;
when deep lakes echo with the goose’s call;
when hillsides trade green for yellow and rust.
Goldenrod and campion dot meadows.
Though cardinal sings to her mate in the birch,
she sings of coming journeys and farewells —
for staying means facing winter’s sorrows:
snowed in, starving, on an unsheltered perch,
above icy brooks in narrow, dark dells.

Unrelenting, Night advances unchecked —
seizes minutes from Day, each dawn and dusk,
commands that Summer’s defenses be wrecked.
The scythe cuts down the corn and leaves the husk.
Fox prints, and turkey tracks, meet by the pond
where bullfrog sounds the order to retreat.
Lean days lie ahead for mouse, deer and hare,
ever united in a sacred bond
with the dying meadow and dreaming wheat,
the wilting fleabane, and the sleeping bear.

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