A Long and Gracious Fall
by David Budbill
A long and gracious fall this year.
The leaves are down. Gardens: emptied,
manured, tilled, smooth, and waiting.
Mower and tiller serviced and put away.
Smoker put away, as is the summer table.
Prayer flags, windsocks and their poles: down.
Twenty-foot homemade badminton poles,
peace flag at the top of one, store-bought net—
all down and put away for another year. No more
outdoor summer chores.
Fall planting — peonies and tiger lilies — done.
Summer flower stalks removed, beds mulched,
a blanket for the cold. Fall pruning done.
Woodshed roof hammered down and sealed again.
Cellar closed. Drive staked and flagged so the
snowplow knows where to go.
What else is there to do? Finally, for once, we are ready
for the snow. Ready now to come inside. Time now for
words and music, poems and shakuhachi. Time now
to light some incense, sit and stare at candlelight.
"A Long and Gracious Fall" by David Budbill, from Happy Life. © Copper Canyon Press, 2011. Reprinted with permission.
A shakuhachi is a traditional Japanese bamboo end-blown flute. For a sample, John Kaizan Neptune playing Tsuru no Sugomori (The Nesting of Cranes), click here.