Autumn Sometimes Walks To Summer

Sweetgum trees, with ruddy leaves like stars,
their scent fills autumn air
from darkened ground to morning sky.

Their trunks are long-stretched, rugged necks.
Or are they legs, in stockings dark and rough?
Do sweetgums walk at night?

The dark and vaulted columns hold their
fiery autumn leaves, like burning stars,
above my head, and keep me safe.

Five-pointed flames are tender underfoot,
dry rustling snow of sweetgum leaves.
Red stars float down (and sometimes kiss my hair).

In drifts of leaves upon the ground
my walk disturbs a layered natural order,
stained-glass wines and reds are stripped away.

In blackened ferment where new earth is born,
a tuft of grass will sometimes show an August green,
untouched by all decay above its head.

© 7 Oct 2006 Heather Quinn

Autumn Sometimes Walks To Summer: Verbose

Sweetgums’ autumn scent
claims this sacred clearing
from the darkened, dappled ground
up to the morning sky.
A canopy of intermittent starry fire
is held above the
sweetgums’ long-stretched, rugged necks.
Or are these columns legs,
in stockings made of dark, rough bark?
Do sweetgums walk at night?
Their black-brown vaulting holds
the stars of fire high
above my head, and keeps me safe,
although a star or two is always
wafting down. They sometimes drift into my hair,
they rustle softly underfoot,
a dry, sweet snow of sweetgum leaves.

In drifts of ruddy stars upon the ground
my steps disturb a layered natural order.
New and tender, gently laid in current time,
the stained-glass wines and reds
are stripped away, and show
the brown-black ferment underneath.
And in that dark transition zone
where fire is changed to earth,
a tuft of summer grass
will sometimes show.
A gleam of August green,
untouched by fall’s decay
above its head.

Note: The title above comes from two places
of current color transition.
One is a grove of sweetgum trees.
The other is a mystery:
My gmail chat status was set to busy last night,
and when I woke today, I was available, instead.
It changed itself, from orange into green,
like autumn walking into summer,
like August grass that flourishes
under mounds of autumn leaves.