Poem Excerpt Chattahoochee Song #3 Autumn Coda, Winter Wondering poem by chamrickwriter randomstoryteller with images of trees

Chattahoochee Song #3: Autumn Coda, Winter Wondering

I once wandered far to find a foreign autumn

That would suit the notion of what I missed—

Cold, clear color bursts, as if shot from paint tubes

Of finessed acrylics for lazy painters,

But dinner-plate dahlias spun portrait pink and soulless

Against a Maine-clean sky, their perfumeless ardor,

Wafting, seducing ecstatic tourists

Finger-blind to the lacey, insect-chewed foliage

Of damp-dirt garlic chives and ruffled red cabbage.dinner plate dahlias chamrickwriter randomstoryteller

You unbolted a painted library,

(Its glossy-white oak shelves, wisdom laden,

With human noise bound in cloth and leather)

And cracked open an eye-slit of nature

Tamed only in flit-seconds of words

Into images—the limping hare, the iron-cold owl,

The wounded swan’s blood drops un-curdling

And sinking fast into crusting snow—

Then you pushed me out the door to travel,

Widely, within two miles, the post-brilliant moods

Of the Chattahoochee in December,

After rain chill-soaked low-flame scarlet and orange

Into brown, now the tramped-down roughscuff

Of fickle leaf collectors who lamented

The lack of frozen grass to scrape mud-wedged soles.

Chattahoochee River_Cochran Shoals Unit_autumn scenes with images of trees and deck and swamp_chamrickwriter randomstoryteller

The ancient sun—its mellow days, November spent—

Flicked at cayenne-and-cumin-tinged scatterings

Scant riches dropping and scuttling the river road,

Fleeing before low winds, while a leaf clung,

Here or there, fluttering, backlit and oxblood red,

On the knuckles and joints of skinny branches—

And the trees, stripped to grayish anonymity,

Laid horizontal bars across the fool’s gold

Of that disappearing afternoon.

Chattahoochee River_Cochran Shoals_chamrickwriter randomstoryteller with images of pine tree and Nandina berries

Christmas broke on the needle-strewn forest floor,

With small evergreen brooms freshly flung

From loblolly pine tops, and I swept up handfuls

And turned over a palm-pricking pyramid cone,

Its buff-brown spirals turning clockwise,

And counter-clockwise, running down moss-covered time

I could not tell, and bark gruffly plated trunks,

Like the chipped beards of stony Sumerian kings;

Raindrops teared on the curve of Nandina berries,

Glowing toxic red, the familiar fruit

Of my mother’s wilderness-plucked decorations.

Chattahoochee River_Cochran Shoals_swamp scenes with mallards_chamrickwriter randomstoryteller

The swamp, to my west, slept, lulled in silver-thin mists,

For I was dumb to secret lives sheltered

By tree-slogged soils and shallow waters

Until the green velveteen of a mallard flashed

As his brassy beak poked the modest tail feathers

Of his mate, riffling the pool—she scooted

Then preened before tipping forward to graze;

This iridescent midmorning turn unveiled

A mottled miracle when she popped up,

Bobbing, patterned, like Hindu bridal-hennaed hands;

Rough-cut lichened trees, roots unbound, leaned in—

Sharp diagonals mirrored in the new year’s nursery—

And I felt the breath of your silent amen.


  1. Scribbleheart

    I could almost feel the sharp chill of the air and smell the rich forest floor. What a lovely word-painting! The happiest of New Years to you, Catherine.

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