Fallen leaves toll for the life that's gone

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Autumn Passion

Bright autumn Christ,
The silver birch,
The bell-bird's call,
The vibrant light,
The glory through
The pain.

Sharp autumn Christ
The fallen leaves,
The slanting sun,
The hint of frost,
Toll for the life
That's gone.

Dark autumn Christ
The broken branch,
The weeping tree,
The whole sad
Earth gasps
Piteously.

High autumn Christ
The teacher gagged,
The friend betrayed,
The healer hung,
The saviour
Torn.

Rich autumn Christ
The hill is climbed,
The hate disarmed,
The fear is gone,
The battle
Won.

Sweet autumn Christ,
The rose-red blood,
The rowan tree,
God's heaven aflame
In love
For me.

 

Light

Oriole, fanned shafts of light,
Arrows receding hills.
Mists gather, caressing gaunt
Gullies, trees, the razored ridge.

Radiance, yes, but curiously subdued,
Glowering, though not in anger,
Lighting and shadowing
Cloaking. while disclosing.

Indubitably, the day's done in,
The sun beyond recall, sunk down.
So why no litany of grief
No tolling shipwreck bell?

Oriole, harvest, time to sleep.
No regrets, nor remorse,
Deep draught of breath replete,
This endless inch of time complete.


The Language of the Trees

the manukas heaved a sigh
as the old guy in trainers
bestrode the black tarmac;
gave me a baleful eye;
waters gleamed in Blueskin Bay

we've yet to learn
the language of the trees,
in patient gesture bowed,
rooted in time and place,
fringing our world

poplars shoot straight up
ram rod parade ground stiff
until, quite near the top,
they flex, wave, swing,
and susurrate

while cabbage trees (what a misnomer!)
hint at a past in hiding,
skeletonic, ominous,
semaphore contempt
for fence and field.

residual bush clings close,
totara and rimu court the sky,
no lofty towers, though, no tidy lines,
no incandescent show,
no fling of hubris.

we taste the self-same sun and rain,
glue ears and glaikit eyes
poor tools to decipher
as soil and time erode
such subtle texts


Peter MathesonPeter Matheson is a leading scholar of 16th Century Reformations, based in New Zealand.

 

 

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Existing comments

lovely and so right for the time. thanks
barbara overbury | 20 March 2008


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