It’s cold and rainy today with a definite feel of the coming of winter. It reminded me of this poem by Robert Mezey (one of that amazing group of students of John Berryman’s at Iowa). His is a California fall poem, and it always gives me a shiver when I come to the last lines. I especially like the image of fire’s many small teeth, and the sun narrowed to a filament. The poem is full of the feeling of death that waits for all living things and that fall exposes.
Out on the bare grey roads, I pass
by vineyards withering toward winder,
cold magenta shapes and green fingers
and the leaves rippling in the early darkness.
Past the thinning orchard the fields
are on fire. A mountain of smoke
climbs the desolate wind, and at its roots
fire is eating dead grass with many small teeth,
When I get home, the evening sun
has narrowed to a filament. When it goes
and the dark falls like a hand on a tabletop,
I am told that what we love most is dying.
The coldness of it is even on this page
at the edge of your fingernail. Touch it.