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Passions in Poetry

The Edge of Autumn - September, 2002

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Ron
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Member Rara Avis
since 05-19-99
Posts 9708
Michigan, US


0 posted 09-27-2002 02:19 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to Submit your Poem to Passions   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron




The first frost came early this year, Mom.

The Edge of Autumn, you used to call it.
Only the most grievously impatient
leaves have begun their shift from green to gold
and Nature's browns are still limited to
shades of desiccated corn stalk,
remnants of a harvest only weeks old.
A few Canadian geese have begun noisily
announcing their winter plans,
much as the silence of the bullfrogs
already announces theirs.

It doesn't seem possible
your Edge of Autumn is already here again.
Only last week a storm swept through,
all wind and rain and Summer's rage,
and I had to rush to close the south windows
from tempest-driven cascades
that seemed to be falling sideways,
from whipping tips of trees instead of darkened sky.
Thirty minutes and it was over.
The sun returned before the mist departed,
painting an arch of muted color
low on the northern horizon.
The yard became thick with martins,
like flitting black snow,
digging for grubs and worms driven to the surface.
They all flew away like an explosion of feathered fear,
perhaps because I looked too hard,
only to alight a heartbeat later in the neighbor's yard.

And this morning,
all the yards along the whole dirt road
are covered in wet shades of white.
It doesn't seem possible.
Five years ago,
I returned home in the heat of Summer,
one day too late for Independence Day.
I didn't regret missing the fireworks, of course,
not considering the circumstance.
I remember it rained the afternoon
I pulled into your gravel driveway,
a summer squall not unlike last week's,
and I danced with the arborvitae in your front yard,
a little drunk with forgotten memories of youth.
California has no such storms,
and twenty years is a long time
to not hear thunder.
Dad died six weeks later.

The Edge of Autumn was short that year.
We went from first frost
to heavy snow by mid-October,
leaving jack-o'-lanterns
wearing dirty white caps
and the lake sheathed in polished ice.
By the time I found a rental it was November
and we were in the grip of a merciless winter.
I decided, not for the last time,
that two decades without snow
wasn't nearly long enough.

Christmas was at your house.
No one in the family knew
it would be the last year those floors
would glitter with spent tinsel.
I bought my nephew cheap plastic swords
and we spent the afternoon battling each other
at the expense of your fragile nerves.
It shames me that I didn't know you better,
and had no way to judge
how quickly you tired.

If there was an end to that winter,
I honestly don't remember it.
The mud of spring rain is forever
shrouded in the memory of
twice-a-week chemo,
and the incessant bugs of summer
are forgotten and replaced
by pain killers that only worked
at the cost of consciousness.
The anniversary of Dad's death passed.
Eleven days later, so did you.

There was no Edge of Autumn that year.
Not for me.
The first frost of the year went unnoticed
and September became,
perhaps for the rest of my life,
a month of introspective mourning.
October was only slightly different,
as lackluster shades of yellow and red
gave way to the stark emptiness of November.
December was white,
January much whiter,
leading to a dirty gray February.
Color and purpose
were equally hard to find.

Ironically, as spring awoke
and donned fresh clothes,
I found new purpose
by encouraging others to do
what I could no longer comfortably do.
My novel, the one you so wanted to read, languished
while I spent my days reading the words of others.
There is a central character in my unfinished story,
a young boy, Mom,
who has been bitten by a vampire bat,
and the only way his friends can spare him
is to painfully cleanse
the spreading rot with holy water.
Twice-weekly?
I could save him, as I could not save you.
Strange that I haven't.

Do you remember the young couple
who lived across the road from you, Mom?
Three years ago I bought their property
and now live just eighty-seven irregular steps
from where I last held your hand.
This spring I planted a long row of your favorite flowers
in the front yard,
though it'll be several years
before the seedlings give birth to May lilacs.
I put in trees for Dad, too,
though not his favorites,
because black walnut and oak grow much too slowly.
I planted weeping willows, instead.

It doesn't seem possible four years have passed,
and these are the first words  I've dared write of your death.
You always loved this time of year
and looked forward to pumpkins, candy corn,
and the inevitable cacophony of color
you knew would soon unfold.
Did I ever tell you, Mom,
how much I envied you that?
The early frost marked the Edge of Autumn for you.
For me, it was just the first kiss of winter.

When they buried your ashes
next to Dad's,
they should have interred
my final ties to this place I once,
as a child, called home.
Instead, I've stayed,
and am only now beginning
to understand why.

I will never love this land
the way you and Dad did,
but I am, at least,
learning to appreciate its wisdoms.
For twenty years, Nature spoke to me with the voice
of eternal mountains and unending ocean,
a beautifully droning monotone heard in the distance.
Today, her voice is closer, louder,
and speaks more clearly of well-charted change,
of cycles within cycles,
each reflecting the lesser,
each a part of the greater.

You showed me your Edge of Autumn, Mom,
and your death has slowly taught me
to look for it outside
the narrow rectangle of my kitchen window.
Beyond the Edge
lies beauty, then peace, and finally a rebirth.
I see this morning's early frost
and begin to suspect
the Edge of Autumn
exists for Nature, for Life, for Purpose.

And even, perhaps, for grief.
© Copyright 2002 Ron Carnell - All Rights Reserved
The Crimson Knight
Member
since 09-16-2002
Posts 61
Reno, NV


1 posted 09-27-2002 02:23 PM       View Profile for The Crimson Knight   Email The Crimson Knight   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for The Crimson Knight

Sir,
You write powerfully,
Give emotion to every line and paint us all a picture with your words,  with words like these to remember those emotions of so much love will never fade.
Thank you for sharing.
Miah
Senior Member
since 08-26-2002
Posts 1092
Pennsylvania


2 posted 09-27-2002 02:26 PM       View Profile for Miah   Email Miah   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Miah

I, umm am utterly speechless. There are no words to describe the beauty in this.  A wonderful masterpiece.  I am so very moved. Thank you for sharing.
Midnitesun
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since 05-18-2001
Posts 29020
Gaia


3 posted 09-27-2002 02:34 PM       View Profile for Midnitesun   Email Midnitesun   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Midnitesun

"the Edge of Autumn
exists for Nature, for Life, for Purpose.

And even, perhaps, for grief."
True, so true. Thank you, Ron, for sharing this part of your Edge.
Martie
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since 09-21-1999
Posts 28608
California


4 posted 09-27-2002 02:41 PM       View Profile for Martie   Email Martie   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Martie's Home Page   View IP for Martie

Dear Ron

You have taken the reader into your deepest thoughts so easily, like a leaf falling from a late summer tree, I went with you and saw the love, the questioning, the fragile dirt of grief, with the beauty of natures turning.  I saw, not just with your eyes, but with your mothers...and because mothers are bonded in some loving way, you took me to my own mother and brought tears to my eyes in seeing her again, passing a year after my dad...with cancer held and taken.  Thank you for this loving talk to your mother, so personal, yet so all-encompassing with humanness.  It is a very special sharing.  
caterina
Member
since 07-25-2002
Posts 192
Canada


5 posted 09-27-2002 02:42 PM       View Profile for caterina   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for caterina


Absolutely beautiful!

Thankyou for sharing.

caterina

Enchantress
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since 08-14-2001
Posts 37801
Somewhere in time~


6 posted 09-27-2002 02:50 PM       View Profile for Enchantress   Email Enchantress   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Enchantress

...


Ron, dear poet sir..I have been rendered speechless by this masterpiece of remember.  Your imagery is impeccable as is your way of telling us your story.

It goes without saying this indeed is a keeper, a treasure, a priceless portrait of your personal life.  Thank you sir for not only inviting us into your home, but sharing yet another layer of the remarkable man you are.

~Hugs, Nancy~

~ Time has cast a spell on you
  So you won't ever forget me ~

Mistletoe Angel
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since 12-17-2000
Posts 34089
City of Roses


7 posted 09-27-2002 02:57 PM       View Profile for Mistletoe Angel   Email Mistletoe Angel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Mistletoe Angel's Home Page   View IP for Mistletoe Angel

"You showed me your Edge of Autumn, Mom,
                               and your death has slowly taught me
                               to look for it outside
                               the narrow rectangle of my kitchen window.
                               Beyond the Edge
                               lies beauty, then peace, and finally a rebirth.
                               I see this morning's early frost
                               and begin to suspect
                               the Edge of Autumn
                               exists for Nature, for Life, for Purpose.

                               And even, perhaps, for grief."




(big hugggssssss) God Bless You, sweet friend, oh my gosh, I am so very blessed you have shared yet another chapter of your life with us all in this wonderful poem! You too may never be able to see nature the same way your mom and dad did, but know always they will love you so much and their spirits will always guide you through every placant rustle of the leaves, the benign caress of the zephyr, their love touching you like that of the fyoung fawn sipping from the stream of life! (big hugggssssss) This is outstanding, sweet friend, we all love you so much! You have such a beautiful heart, sweet Ron, thank you for sharing!



May love and light always shine upon you!

Love,
Noah Eaton

"Underneath your clothes there's an endless story..."

Shakira

bsquirrel
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Member Rara Avis
since 01-03-2000
Posts 8382


8 posted 09-27-2002 03:14 PM       View Profile for bsquirrel   Email bsquirrel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for bsquirrel

Ron,
A compulsively readable portrait
of grief and moving on
by staying where you are.

I love the oak and walnut,
the martins,
the end of color for winter.

In short,
the whole thing....
Moonlight Romeo
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Senior Member
since 09-10-2001
Posts 1122
The heart of you


9 posted 09-27-2002 03:33 PM       View Profile for Moonlight Romeo   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Moonlight Romeo

That I am deeply moved would indeed be an understatement Sir.  I have always found that "goodbyes" are the hardest, but that, sometimes, they are necessary.

Thank you.

What light through yon window breaks?  It is the east, and Juliet is the sun.

Irie
Senior Member
since 12-01-1999
Posts 1526
Washington State


10 posted 09-27-2002 03:57 PM       View Profile for Irie   Email Irie   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Irie

Ron,

What to say, where to start?
This I do not know.

Words you layed gently on canvas, painting a picture.
Thank you so much for sharing you.

~Sheri

"Don't wait for your ship to come in ...
Swim out to it"

RSWells
Member Elite
since 06-17-2001
Posts 2607


11 posted 09-27-2002 04:40 PM       View Profile for RSWells   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for RSWells

A very mature write. Go ahead and plant the black walnut, and some oak.
Toerag
Member Ascendant
since 07-29-99
Posts 5839
Ala bam a


12 posted 09-27-2002 05:08 PM       View Profile for Toerag   Email Toerag   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Toerag

This is superb...your descriptions of your parents and how you lost them could be written word for word with mine....this is excellent.....
suthern
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Member Seraphic
since 07-29-99
Posts 20770
on the threshold of a dream


13 posted 09-27-2002 05:34 PM       View Profile for suthern   Email suthern   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for suthern

I expect excellence when I see your name... the weeping... for both mine and yours... caught me by surprise. I don't have words to tell you what this means... or how deeply it has touched.
Poet deVine
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since 05-26-99
Posts 25869
Hurricane Alley


14 posted 09-27-2002 05:35 PM       View Profile for Poet deVine   Email Poet deVine   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Poet deVine

I understand why it took so long for you to write this. But I am so glad you did! This is such a simple poem..no fancy words or intricate rhyme scheme. Just your heart..your respect..your grief..and your acceptance. I believe your mother and father are there with you as you stand on this edge of Autumn, their hands on your shoulders, gently sharing this season.

Your poem is so well done, I cried reading it. You asked once to define poetry - we can look no further than this poem to find the answer.

Thank you.
Elizabeth Santos
Member Rara Avis
since 11-08-1999
Posts 9405
Pennsylvania


15 posted 09-27-2002 11:15 PM       View Profile for Elizabeth Santos   Email Elizabeth Santos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Elizabeth Santos

Ron


I loved the sincerity and the natural candor of this piece. I felt I was tiptoeing up to somebody's window and watching their lives. THis could be the introduction to a novel!!
Very well written
Liz
Paul Wilson
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since 07-07-2002
Posts 4023
Between Fantasy and Reality


16 posted 09-27-2002 11:15 PM       View Profile for Paul Wilson   Email Paul Wilson   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Paul Wilson

Ron...A very touching and heartfelt look into your heart shared with all of us. A sad time of year for you I am sure, hopefully the fond memories of your parents will renew themselves within your heart to help fill the void...Paul  
Earth Angel
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since 08-27-2002
Posts 40647
Realms of Light


17 posted 09-28-2002 12:05 AM       View Profile for Earth Angel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Earth Angel's Home Page   View IP for Earth Angel

As I read down the page, I found myself reading the lines out loud---no, not in a bold voice but one that was in hushed tones---a voice that reflected the reverence with which I regarded your words--your story. I read slowly, taking in the images, the feelings---sharing a part of your life.

You are a writer of great import.
Respectfully yours
Earth Angel
Michael
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since 08-13-99
Posts 6333
California


18 posted 09-28-2002 03:51 AM       View Profile for Michael   Email Michael   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Michael

Much wisdom revealed in this piece, Ron, as well as the price gaining such wisdom often entails.  To lap words of praise unto this work would never do it justice, but suffice to say that you have touched me in a very personal way with this work - in a place I thought untouchable.  Perhaps I am still searching for the edge of my own Autumn, but I find hope and strength in your words.

Bless you,

Michael
BluesSerenade
Member Rara Avis
since 10-23-2001
Posts 9867
By the Seaside


19 posted 09-28-2002 04:19 AM       View Profile for BluesSerenade   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for BluesSerenade

Parental love runs deep and this poignant piece of poetry shows just how far and beyond it goes.  You breathe the words so eloquently.  Thank you for the glimpse, it is truly a remarkable one.  
Kit McCallum
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since 04-30-2000
Posts 16920
Ontario, Canada


20 posted 09-28-2002 09:07 AM       View Profile for Kit McCallum   Email Kit McCallum   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Kit McCallum

"Instead, I've stayed,
and am only now beginning
to understand why."

Ron, in addition to my e-mail, I just wanted to say that this poem was truly an exceptional piece, and one that touched me deeply. I was immersed in your feelings and thoughts from the first line, through to the last, and what a beautiful journey it was. This is a treasure ...

Best wishes and hugs,
/Kit
Ron
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Member Rara Avis
since 05-19-99
Posts 9708
Michigan, US


21 posted 09-28-2002 09:16 AM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

I wanted to take a moment to thank everyone for their kind words. This poem, obviously, is a very personal one, but it's nonetheless gratifying to know it has touched others. It's probably good, too, to be reminded that my feelings are somewhat less than unique, that others have experienced much the same and for precisely the same reasons. Love is universal, as is death. And so, it seems, is renewed hope.

Thank you, one and all.


Temptress
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since 06-15-99
Posts 7276
Mobile, AL


22 posted 09-28-2002 09:39 AM       View Profile for Temptress   Email Temptress   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Temptress

Beautiful poetry from the heart, soul, and pen of a wonderful man. Its poetry like this that will always make me hold the quiet respect and awe I have for you. All the descriptions of thought and memories...I've never read anything like them, and I love it.


I'm glad that this finally came for you. It was apparently waiting at a door just needing to be written.

*Jenn*

"two hearts will build the foundation for one point of light
a duet done with passion"

excerpt from "I Love You"

Janette
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Member Elite
since 07-20-2001
Posts 2896
Chicagoland for now


23 posted 09-28-2002 05:42 PM       View Profile for Janette   Email Janette   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Janette

Lovely ... You have spoken what many of us feel whom have lost their parent(s), please pass the tissues, I miss my Mom, too.
CSKpoet
Senior Member
since 07-12-2002
Posts 894
Island in Paradise


24 posted 09-28-2002 10:30 PM       View Profile for CSKpoet   Email CSKpoet   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for CSKpoet

I am sincerely sad in emotions for the Edge of Autumn experience in your life. It is an excellent poem of love, testimony and  a type of healing. Thanks for sharing such a deep part of your heart.
aloha, Cheryl

Poetry is:
Passion, imagination and intellect running together.

Aloha with warmest regards, Cheryl Stewart Koomoa

 
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