Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Poetry Tuesday: "Leaves" by Lloyd Schwartz


Every October it becomes important, no, necessary
to see the leaves turning, to be surrounded
by leaves turning; it's not just the symbolism,
to confront in the death of the year your death,
one blazing farewell appearance, though the irony
isn't lost on you that nature is most seductive
when it's about to die, flaunting the dazzle of its
incipient exit, an ending that at least so far
the effects of human progress (pollution, acid rain)
have not yet frightened you enough to make you believe
is real; that is, you know this ending is a deception
because of course nature is always renewing itself—
the trees don't die, they just pretend,
go out in style, and return in style: a new style.


Is it deliberate how far they make you go
especially if you live in the city to get far
enough away from home to see not just trees
but only trees? The boring highways, roadsigns, high
speeds, 10-axle trucks passing you as if they were
in an even greater hurry than you to look at leaves:
so you drive in terror for literal hours and it looks
like rain, or snow, but it's probably just clouds
(too cloudy to see any color?) and you wonder,
given the poverty of your memory, which road had the
most color last year, but it doesn't matter since
you're probably too late anyway, or too early—
whichever road you take will be the wrong one
and you've probably come all this way for nothing.


You'll be driving along depressed when suddenly
a cloud will move and the sun will muscle through
and ignite the hills. It may not last. Probably
won't last. But for a moment the whole world
comes to. Wakes up. Proves it lives. It lives—
red, yellow, orange, brown, russet, ocher, vermilion,
gold. Flame and rust. Flame and rust, the permutations
of burning. You're on fire. Your eyes are on fire.
It won't last, you don't want it to last. You
can't stand any more. But you don't want it to stop.
It's what you've come for. It's what you'll
come back for. It won't stay with you, but you'll
remember that it felt like nothing else you've felt
or something you've felt that also didn't last.


Old Kitty said...

Wow! A very challenging poem! It bears re-reading many times to get the full build up as it reaches a crescendo and just explodes in cathartic colours. And all because the leaves turning may not occur as usual because of what we humans do that affect the seasons!

Lovely! Take care

Tracy said...

Stunning Betty, absolutely breath-taking! I did as Kitty said, read them a few times over to get the complete aura of the writing but I have a feeling that the writing would change just like the fall to whatever mood a person was in when they read it.
Thank you for sharing...

My Mind's Eye said...

May I suggest you give this poem your class asking them to find the true meaning!!! I fear there would be mutiny on board the Queen BB.

Very thought provoking and interesting poem. I'll admit I had to read it 3 times for the full meaning.
Hugs and Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.
Hugs Madi and MOm

Connie said...

Lovely poem, Betty. It's true that when the sun catches the fall leaves just right, and they are against a clear blue sky that they seem to come alive.

Sueann said...

Very cool poem!! And so true!!! I love when the sun hits the fall colors...it's magic for sure!

baygirl32 said...

wonderful poem

Unknown said...

Beautiful poem; a melody of change in both nature and oneself.

Pearl said...

That was deep for so early in the morning, Miz Bossy! :-) But yes, the symbolism of fall (winter, spring, and summer) is there for the introspective and provides comfort in its cycles/renewals...


Joey Lynn Resciniti said...

I always looked at the fall colors as a big tree party before their long winter sleep.

Death is a little too depressing for this kid.

Out on the prairie said...

Fall was nice here while it stayed unusually warm.almost all the color has left, but there still are a few holdouts. Today was an eye opening 16 when I got up.This reminds me of a real change in seasons.I shot tons of folige and always go to new horizons. Out for a walk the other day I noticed what had been color and now was changed, but still had it's beauty.


An excellent poem, a joy to read.
Thanks for sharing.


Carol said...

Wonderful poem, congrats. I agree I had to read it a few times. But I think that makes it even better.

Baby Sister said...

Oooo I liked that one!! Different, but very very deep. Thanks Betty. :)

Talli Roland said...

Beautiful photo and equally beautiful poem. Thank you, Betty.

Pat Tillett said...

Really nice Betty!
It does a body good to get away from everything, every now and then...

Lloyd Schwartz said...

Dear Betty--

Thank you for posting my poem, and thanks to all the readers who responded so generously.

Happy Holidays to you all!

Lloyd Schwartz

Rawknrobyn.blogspot.com said...

This is very meaningful, Betty. Thanks. xo

Barb said...

Hi Betty,

That poem is incredible. I read through several times and each time got more from it!
Thank you for sharing.

Happy Thanksgiving to you my friend.

big hugs,

Ann said...

what a lovely poem. I enjoyed it

SquirrelQueen said...

What a beautiful, thought provoking poem. Hats off to Lloyd.

Cheeseboy said...

Flame and Rust - So vivid. So cool.

ds said...

Wonderful. Thanks so much for sharing!

Marlene said...

Huh? Pretty yellow leaves. :)