It was an overcast late autumn day With a boisterous wind ripping away last leaves From already wintering trees to play A rackety childhood game we called Bank-n-Thieves.
All along our street, the wind was grabbing whole arms-full Of my banked leaves, and sailing away too far to be seen By these old eyes of one who already feels the awful pull Of nature that leaves nothing young and green.
Oh yes, the trees will leaf out again, or keep their odds— Some die—but seasons now revive the ancient myth Of something clearly awry among the gods In Paradise, as we must deal with
Out-of-season subzero ice and snow So that instead of sweaters we wear insulated coats; And if it be my fate that I should go Where they still separate sheep from goats
I’ll hope to be a woolly one who will remain In a gentle zone of temperate cool Regardless of the weather, until we perhaps regain Some hope that seasonal sanity is again the rule.
For now in my own winter, the dark whisper seems Often at my ear, insisting that I should keep Preparing for the journey I mostly sense in dreams, While I remain the weary child fighting sleep.
At the end of time everything trembles and topples— the sun dresses in sackcloth, plagues run amok, vaccines sour; threadbare bones like oakum unravel and children frieze into sandstone; patriots fall like falling stars, and the tower of winds decays in stillness; a flood of faces bloats the river and suicides surface like bubbling sores. Then holy men and women scatter sainted salts to ward off fiends trying to steal family voices pleading for sanctuary; none left but a remnant of martyrs to scribble with blood and sickles in bitter books about the end of time until the kingdom of eternity reigns salving the wounds of memory.