Autumn Leaves Its Scar
Poem by Terry Donovan
When I walk ankle-deep in autumn leaves,
Head down and collar up against the rain,
My thoughts transport me back to happier days
When, shuffling leaves knee-deep along the lane,
I'd saunter home from school without a care
As wind-fanned rainfall soaked my every inch,
Scattering the leaves with wellied feet
And soaking up the spray without a flinch.
As roadside rivers rushed to greet my trek,
With makeshift dams of leaves I'd block their course,
Each putting up a brief quixotic front
Till yielding to the ravine's rain-backed force.
Such was my journey home those autumn days
Until I squelched at last to my back door,
A puddle of my own inside each boot
- But knowing what a treat I had in store.
A cup of tea, some home-made raspberry jam,
A warming by the open fire's glow,
To sit and read a comic by the hearth,
Hear Childrens' Hour on the radio.
But luxury to me in those young days
Was a bath towel and warmed-up change of clothes,
Replacements for my cast-off sodden gear -
And what a pleasure getting out of those!
What a treat that transformation made,
From drowned rat dripping on the kitchen floor
To ecstasy of warmth and cosiness,
What price my mother's welcome at the door!
Now, walking ankle-deep in autumn leaves,
Collar up, head down against the rain,
I kick the leaves in anger from my path.
The homeward journey brings me only pain.
There won't be any welcome at the door,
No warmth to ease my wracked and battered frame,
For those I loved, like autumn leaves, have dropped,
Returning to the earth from where they came.
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