“Into a rich mash”


A hammering Nor’easter brings out autumn’s uncanny, tenacious survivors.  You cannot miss them.

They spill through scrolled iron grates and poke through white picket fences, onto narrow sidewalks.  Giant bleached sunflower heads sink to the ground, bending their stalks into improbable horseshoes, gateways to flower beds populated with autumn’s honeyed hues: amber and pumpkin, magenta and violet, mottled mossy green and every shade of brown.

At this time of year, flamboyant survivors are outliers: the ground is littered with the fallen.

After centuries of reaching upwards, branches have thwacked down after one final battering by high winds.   Fruit has detached and collapsed.  A blizzard of leaves still falls, spinning and fluttering like the missing butterflies which descended en masse only weeks ago.

Where leaves have steeped in rain they begin to bleed and dissolve into one another, like paper mache.  Plate-sized mushrooms–sepia tortoises with tucked heads and spongy gold underbellies–sprout and colonize drenched city lawns.

From treetops to ground, from ground to underneath.  A season of descent.

Poet Mary Oliver captured these “Days of Increasing Darkness“:

Every year we have been
witness to it: how the
world descends

into a rich mash, in order that
it may resume.
And therefore
who would cry out

to the petals on the ground
to stay,
knowing as we must,
how the vivacity of what was is married

to the vitality of what will be?
I don’t say
it’s easy, but
what else will do

if the love one claims to have for the world
be true?

So let us go on, cheerfully enough,
this and every crisping day,

though the sun be swinging east,
and the ponds be cold and black,
and the sweets of the year be doomed.

About Stephanie

In her spare time, Stephanie works full-time, and then some, as an attorney. She has published articles and delivered talks in arcane fields like forensic evidentiary issues, jury instructions, and expert scientific witness preparation. She also is an adjunct professor at a law school on the banks of the Charles and loves that dirty water, as she will always think of Boston as her home. You are welcome to take a look at her Facebook author page, or follow @SMartinGlennon on Twitter. All content on this blog, unless otherwise attributed, is (c) 2012-2020 by Stephanie M. Glennon and should not be reproduced (in any form other than re-blogging in accordance with Wordpress protocol and the numerous other wee buttons at the bottom of each post) without the express permission of the domain holder.
This entry was posted in Love and Loss and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to “Into a rich mash”

  1. Amy says:

    So very beautiful poem. Thank you for sharing, Stephanie! Love these photo gallery.

  2. ann martin says:

    Thank you for the blog — the poem — and the pictures — it all makes our day more interesting. AM

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