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Autumn Hymn

by David Hill

I get caught up in a funeral procession,
stuck at the traffic light, right next to the limousine
that bears a withered, anguished face,

But all I ever see is me.
I take my age times two
but there’s no cushion now.
Two times my age equals dead.

The light changes and I sudden stomp the pedal
accelerate for an adrenalin rush,
try and leave that image mercifully behind,
time and distance work like Novocain.

My city is small, so I quickly reach rolling farmlands,
put down the top, and let Van Morrison croon soulful
sound waves to the blue, blue sky.

I drive along the murky river,
past a small sand and gravel plant
blemished metal, angular, skeletal, insect-like.
The dredge putters and scrapes the west shore,
boils water in a great brown cloud.

I cross the iron bridge, rumble and vibrate,
then park beside the harvested field.
Stubbed shafts divide the dry earth
in rows winding parallel to the river.
As if deliberate, one lone cornstalk stands
thinly defiant, flutters a single leaf pennant
that would crisp crumble in my grasp.

I walk the stiff grass edge of the field,
crush a soil clod, and feel its dryness in my teeth.
My coming forces the crow to fly,
a callous scolding follows his clumsy takeoff.
To the west, gold-leafed maples border the field,
and their pungent decay reminds me of sun-dried peaches.

As the sun drifts below the treetops,
I find the place where the line is drawn,
the line between shadow and light, ever creeping.
I sit cross-legged in light, and allow shadows to overtake me
like some sleepy tidal wave,
symbolically I face the ever-changing without struggle,
with courage, acceptance, and trust.
I whisper-chant my soulful thought waves to the blue, blue sky:

take me where I need to go
teach me what I need to know.


Author's Note: Tis the season, to be melancholy, fa-la-la-la-la...

Posted on 10/10/2005
Copyright © 2024 David Hill

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by Terry Olynik on 10/10/05 at 01:41 AM

I have little experience with rural America. The image of you in your car, listening to the same Van Morrison tunes I do, on the edges of a harvested corn field, intrigues me. New perspectives. Effectively communicated. Universal feelings transposed to a different geography. Well done.

Posted by Gregory O'Neill on 10/10/05 at 06:58 AM

Autumn throws down its own kind of gauntlet, especially when the age-cushion loses its stuffing...kudo, nice poem. Some Van for the leaf pile: Who would think this could happen in a city like this Among Blake's green and pleasant hills And we must remember as we go through September Among these dark satanic mills If there's such a thing as justice I could take them out and flog them In the nearest green field And it might be a lesson to the bleeders of the system In this whole society Golden Autumn Day, Van Morrison.

Posted by Gregory O'Neill on 10/10/05 at 07:00 AM

ack! sorry that came out all run on...do love your poem though.

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