Now That the Leaves are Down

Leaves Are GoneNow the leaves are down from trees,
Blown off grass and into the woods
Finally in late November
My conscience finally clears.
One less thing to do
Before winter’s snow arrives.

Like dead leaves rotting into soil,
Memories both enrich and simplify with age—
Becomes old friend that softly speaks.
No longer harsh but tenderly,
Simple words worth keeping,
Never unforgiving for the work
Incomplete as winter comes.
No longer do I need large compliment of friends
But prefer sparse presence of Soul.

Voice first spoken by God in infancy—
Still faintly heard in dreams and empty halls,
No longer troubled by small
Unfinished deeds or doubt,
Yet sparse and thin as simple air.
Gratitude comes when work is done
True as backbone if wisdom comes—
November fades like aging body,
Always worse at the end,
Yet thickened as by labored hand,
Virtuous as wordless prayer.

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