This isn't poetry.  I don't claim that  for an instant. But it's something I wrote this past fall, gathering inspiration from my daily jaunts to and fro upon the earth. I am finally posting it. I decided to swamp the dear reader, and post the entire thing.  All at once. My sincere apologies.

  An Autumnal Song-cycle, 
 Driving to Work in the Fall.

 1.  DUI of Fall
I need a bumper sticker like this:


They are gold and glory right now
and this day is like an HD photo
with colors all yellow and blue and brown 
and intoxicating and overpowering,
vivid, blatantly

There's one tree in particular, a Moses tree.
(It's face shines, and I can not look upon it.)
I slow, wish for sunglasses, narrowly miss an oncoming car.
Perhaps for the good of humanity
I should voluntarily suspend my license from

 2.  Overall Musings

Strange things are happening.
Fall is in the air.

Today, driving past houses
on my way to work,
I carefully squeezed my vehicle 
past a garbage truck 
on its morning rounds.
The man picked up the garbage can
as I drove past and I noticed that
his overalls were a rich orange hue,
exactly the color of an astronauts. 
He must work two jobs, I thought.
A garbage-collector 
by day
and an astronaut 
by night.

"Ah," I mused,
"Here at last is the answer
to one of the great mysteries of the world.
The question is:
what garbage guys do at night
when there are no trashcans
set out along the road to collect
The answer is, of course:
they're astronauts
collecting space junk."

 3. Mist o' Mornings

I drive to work in the
heavy mist of an autumn
morning. That's a perk
to living by a river, I realize, 
because river mist makes 
things look mysteriously
Presently, it's transforming the 
remnants of the stone settler house, 
into the 
ruins of an ancient castle,
not only built, but conquered and crumbled
eons ago on a distant Scottish moor.

 4.  Blooming

I drive to work and 
watch the leaves
drift down to land 
on the pavement
only to be whirled
into the air again 
by a passing vehicle's
tires. There's something
mesmerizing in their descent.
reminiscent of a sad love song
or a faded photo album
in a forgotten attic.

I feel like I am the leaves, falling.
letting myself be borne
on the winds of change. 

Or maybe I am the tree
and pieces of my heart are 
being left behind, 
sifting away across
the yard, to look 
like some kind of fall dandelion
blooming gold 
in the grass,
while I stay here,
becoming more bare
and brown with 
each gust of growth

Grow enough,
and a new spring
will come
with new places
and new pieces
and more leaves.   


 I was attacked by a herd of wild leaves today. 
They blew down over the bank
and charged my tires 
shouting in their whispery voices revenge! 
for their fallen comrades. 
I'm not sure the fact of their own fall has sunk in yet. 

 6.  All Glory to God...

Every tree I passed today was all gold and glory. 
Makes it easy for me to remember that 


 7. Penguins and Stop Signs

I waved to the penguins 
again today.
They're looking happier with
every passing day that
grows colder. 
They waved gaily back,
from their station on the 
stop sign,
their summer job of holding 
up a yardsale poster 
The pale blue background of the 
duct tape only accents their
red pom pom hats.
What if all stop signs
hosted colonies of penguins? 

 8. This Happens Frequently
Driving to work, I blink,
gasp, half-close my eyes,
drink in the color, sigh,
drift across the center line.
Drat. Looked into a tree 
too deeply. Maybe I 
should wear sunglasses,
or let someone else drive.
I think autumn is endangering
my self-respect. 

 9.   Don't Take This Too Seriously, But...
Driving to work, I finger my cellphone,
consider dialing the fire company
to inform them that the 
sumacs on Rt. 459 
are ablaze.

10.  Farms Afire

Driving to work, 
I watch the fog rolling off 
the hayfield, up into the corn,
swallowing the dry autumnal husks in
billowing waves of flame.
I wonder how much stubble will be
left after the fog burns off. 

11. Nature's Cathedral
Driving up the ravine, I lean forward, 
wrapping my arms around the wheel, 
to see the roof of this place better. 
This is my daily cathedral moment, 
when I observe a moment of silence,
turning off the radio or whatever noise is in the vehicle
without actually killing the engine. 

It's better than a morning coffee. 

The tall oaks stretch over the road,
strong arched rafters holding up
the sky. The stained glass windows
of beech and young maples glow
regardless of whether the sun's shining,
and the alcoves of pines purple the wall tapestries
with their perfectly textured bark,
providing hints of that
shadowy coolness called peace
so everpresent in cathedrals.

I may or may not be biased,
but this Creator cathedral is better than
anything Europe can produce.  



A Wee Colleen's Take on Things, Specifically: A Disease

  Our dining room was too warm to eat in, due to the woodstove's diligence, so the little girl and I sat on the upstairs steps to eat our snack of muffins.  
  "Like a picnic!", I said. 
  "Yeah!" she replied, eyes wide, "in a house!" 

  We began to chat of this and that, she expressing herself with many opinions and amazing fluency for a a four-year old, and me adding sundry "mmhmmms" and generally egging her on. 

 Shortly thereafter, my sister emerged from the kitchen in the middle of listing off various diseases, "...mumps, measles, and chicken pox!" 
 (I discovered upon comparing notes with her later, that she was using those words to describe the appearance of the muffins.

  I looked at the petite child perched beside me. 
   "Have you ever had chicken pox?" I asked her, very seriously.
  A funny look crossed her face. 
  "Oh, right," I thought, "of course she doesn't know what chicken pox is. She's probably never had it or heard of it, because shots take care of that these days."
 She delicately nibbled her muffin, and looked at me quite as seriously as I had looked at her, with a dash of puzzlement besides. 
  "I've never tasted those." she said, demurely.  

 I must confess that I didn't set her straight as to what the chicken pox is, because while I was trying desperately not to laugh she rambled on to the next subject. 


  Any of you, my dear readers, see a recipe called "Chicken Pox" lately? 
  I'm guessing it would be under Main Dishes.           


A Dreadful Parody

Stopping By Water On A Sunny Morning

"Whose creek this is I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch the water flow so slow."
 -Robert Fro-oh wait. 

What did I tell you? 

And isn't it gloriously green and gold????



The Why's of Life

(or some of them.)

Another Reason Why I Don't Keep A Gun In The House

The neighbors' dog will not stop barking.
He is barking the same high, rhythmic bark
that he barks every time they leave the house.
They must switch him on on their way out.

The neighbors' dog will not stop barking.
I close all the windows in the house 
and put on a Beethoven symphony full blast
but I can still hear him muffled under the music,
barking, barking, barking.

and now I can see him sitting in the orchestra, 
his head raised confidently as if Beethoven 
had included a part for barking dog.

When the record finally ends he is still barking,
sitting there in the oboe section barking,
his eyes fixed on the conductor who is
entreating him with his baton

while the other musicians listen in respectful 
silence to the famous barking dog solo, 
that endless coda that first established 
Beethoven as an innovative genius.  

-Billy Collins

(our neighbors' dog is actually quite well-behaved. It is a giant of a Great Dane, more like a lanky colt than a dog. Oh and there's the two cocker spaniels. But they're old and pretty much keep their voices to themselves  I just like this poem.)