Leaves have a sort of learned helplessness:
In Autumn, they get shaken from their branches
And they lie still upon the ground
To await being stepped upon or sat upon or jumped upon.
They wait (to fall or to be stepped upon), but they do not wait for me.
Those that remain high upon their pedestals
Do not wait to be plucked, to be taken and turned into
Some child’s craft or some teacher’s exhibit or some lover’s gift.
Those that remain only wait to fall and be a part
Of something so much larger and grander: Autumn.
They wait to be a part of the thousands of other leaves that have fallen
Earlier that day or earlier in centuries before.
They wait to be a part. They do not wait for
My hands or the child’s hands or the teacher’s hands or the lover’s hands.
Leaves have a sort of learned helplessness:
They feel the autumn coming nearer to them, and they change—
In one ecstatic wave they become something new,
Some new color and entity that suddenly attracts some new audience.
They feel the autumn coming, and they are prepared.
They do not know the times or the seasons, but in one great
After the long wait from bud to bud, from hand to hand,
They change into some new beauty and then fall to earth
Before their beauty could fully be taken in or grasped by those feeble hands.
They become beautiful only to make more beautiful the great
To which they belong: Autumn.

26 November 2007

No comments: