Greetings, holy night of gathering ghosts,
Who flutter like leaves torn free from branches.
Autumn makes good on her warriors’ boasts
To uprood great oaks and fill the trenches
With cold, muddy rain and broken brambles.
Gray gales grab gaggles of garrulous geese
Who seize and inhabit each lake in turn.
Turkey-tribe blocks roads with midnight rambles;
Starlings shoot skyward in sudden release
From treelines so stripped that sunset will burn
Every twig, limb and trunk to ashen black.
Elemental sprites and dark eidolons
Arise in our imaginings, and wrack
Earth with the conflicts of their paragons:
Heroes and villains, monsters, myths and fae
Walk abroad on this day of dying light,
Seeking sacrifice for the turning wheel —
And timeless battle becomes child’s-play.
First frost spatters the potatoes with white,
And massacres meadows with winter’s steel.
Hail to thee, night of twilight arising,
When dawn makes delay and shadows encroach.
Coyote disturbs the black crows’ grazing,
But no one can halt winter’s slow approach:
Not mushrooms new sprouted on fallen logs;
Not blue-jay croaking among dead cherries;
Not wintergreen poking up through dried leaves.
The woods are full of unexpected bogs,
Sudden grassy glades, and bright red berries,
Whose color delights, and whose taste bereaves.