Autumn Number 3 Poem by Sheena Blackhall

Autumn Number 3

September opened up with stormy seas
Gulls screeched and plummeted through broken billows
At night the moon seemed cut out from a frieze
And pebbles shivered in the tidal shallows

A fisherman coughed through a rasping wheeze
And owls swooped hooting through frost haunted hollows
The tips of leaves were touched by death, all -searing
And fields stood empty, shorn in harvest's shearing

On wires long strings of birds moved out from trees
Drawn by the need to migrate, feathers stirring
The world turned on its axis, oceans heaved
In murmuration, starlings' wings were whirring
Dark forests, gleaned of birds, in silence grieved
As one by one air-children slipped their mooring
High over wynds and lanes and steaming cattle
In ditches, seed pods shook their throaty rattle

How soon the lonely shepherd did forget
The birdsong in the springtime days of wishing
When thrush's tune poured sylvan from its breast
As feathers lifted, in the sky gone flashing
He saw a cloud, like a white dove gyrate
Sipped warm tea from his flask, to shield off chilling
Driving his flock from broken dykes and fences
September drilled its sourness through the senses

Too soon came autumn, palsy unalloyed
Wielding its paints of amber, orange, red
This cold invader could not be delayed
Caught all, and fast its putrefaction bred
Leaves fell, like dying soldiers, wounded, bled
Then every fading flower hung its head
And all warm summer's pleasantries were dead

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