Philip Martin: ‘The First of Autumn’

The First of Autumn

So freshly now the leaves begin their falling
It might be the first autumn of the earth,
The ritual waking at its origins:
These trees embraced by the matronal river
In silence but for a trout’s leap, a bird calling
Lightly, briefly, to nothing, across pure space,
Perform their part in time with a live stillness;
I drift through the first autumn this clear morning
Before the gardeners put their rakes to use
And children or a girl in trouble find
Enough leaves to shush before their feet:
Autumn will deepen soon enough, but now
The spirit lifts as once when innocence
Was a word that breath and tongue had not forgotten.
As, in one sense or many, all must fall,
Grant us the gift of mime: to watch, go out
Into these trunks and branches to the tips
And know what they know, be such leaves in falling.

Philip Martin

Leave a Reply