Written by: Hana Ryusaka

‘Twas a grey november morning
When I climbed outside my window
To see my breath like dragon’s smoke
Swirl and dance away.
‘Twas bitter cold 
That autumn day,
And sickly sun wore mourning shrouds
Though lazy earth had yet to draw
Her snowy blanket 
To her chin.

I marveled at
The tiny leaf-
The last one to remember
Summer’s happy days, 
The only one to forget
His time was done.
Yet in his small defiance-
Prideful even in the light of death-
As he clung tightly to the bough
He commanded wondering respect.

And too
The blades of grass,
Idle maidens gossiping, 
Had not lost their bright greenery
To old winter’s paling breath.
For they had done with washing
Dappled cheeks in morning dew,
Now arrayed themselves in frosty gowns
For Autumn's final dance.
With cheery feet
They turned and swayed,
Laughing in their finery,
The wind as minstrel serenading
With whistling tune 
Them all.

Until the last leaf,
Old heart breaking,
Found that he could hold no more.
Slowly down he drifted 
To the forest floor.

Then with a crashing sound was shattered
The stillness of that dark, dark morn; 
And all the maidens wept in earnest-
Rent their lovely clothes in twain.
And as I felt the old man sleeping-
Dreaming ever 
In my hand-
I knew the magic of that morning
Had been torn away.

Sure enough, earth’s yawning
Pulled upon herself the snow.
But still sometimes I think of 
Hidden in the folds of Autumn:
Longing, pining, yearning still
To whisper ancient secrets
To me.