Another Favorite Autumnal Poem

“In Autumn”
by Jon Anderson (1940-2007)

At day’s light
I dressed my cold body & went out.
Calling the dogs, I climbed the west hill,
Threw cut wood down to the road for hauling.
Done, there was a kind of exultation
That wanted to go on; I made my way
Up through briers & vines
To a great stone that rises at the hill’s brow,
Large enough to stand on.  The river
Below was a thick, dark line.
My house was quaint.
I sat, not thoughtful,
Lost in the body awhile,
Then came down the back way, winding
Through stands of cedar & pine.

I can tell you where I live.
My grief is that I bear no grief
& so I bear myself.  I know I live apart.
But have had long evenings of conversation,
The faces of which betrayed
No separation from a place or time.  Now,
In the middle of my life,
A woman of delicate bearing gives me
Her hand, & friends
Are so enclosed within my reasoning
I am occasionally them.
When I had finally stood, high above
The house, land, my life’s slow dream,
For a moment I was required
To turn to those deep rows of cedar,
& would have gone

On walking endlessly in.
I understand by the body’s knowledge
I will not begin again.
But it was October: leaves
In the yellowed light were altered & familiar.
We who have changed, & have
No hope of change, must now love
The passage of time.

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