You ask for signs and see
Blowing across a frozen lake
Some scattered leaves
Burning, as if the wind could
Start a fire,
Or the ice could give off heat.
It’s time for the fall so
The leaves don’t surprise you
As they fly from branches,
released by death to ride uncertain winds
like the kites of careless boys in late November
who are too distracted by the cold to hold on tightly --
Leaves bounding in a random dance,
Trying to bounce their way across the promised winter.
It’s the movement of fire in the timing of your head
That makes you wonder if this is a portent
Or an answer,
Or just some strangeness unreported –
Some farmer burning trash,
Or a city in flames making its own weather--
(The ashes of civility blowing in from the middle gives you pause,)
or a star exploding to show you the face of God --
Whirling flamed chariots of dancing death to make a point to you alone.
But this sign is not for you, it’s just wordlessness
From the muscle that runs beneath --
the muscle that boxes and binds the gods.
And the only meaning
Is in the movement of dead leaves
As they blow into piles for a latter thaw
to be born again as something else.
No thoughts or dreams can cover up
The truth that we are simple meat
Given enough in senses to occasionally see
the sparks that fly from frozen lakes,
to know that the beauty of the fall
lies in the promise of a spring.
Michael S Brady 2010