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Autumn

by
 Whoever has no house now will never have one.
Whoever is alone will stay alone Will sit, read, write long letters through the evening And wander on the boulevards, up and down.
.
.
- from Autumn Day, Rainer Maria Rilke Its stain is everywhere.
The sharpening air of late afternoon is now the colour of tea.
Once-glycerined green leaves burned by a summer sun are brittle and ochre.
Night enters day like a thief.
And children fear that the beautiful daylight has gone.
Whoever has no house now will never have one.
It is the best and the worst time.
Around a fire, everyone laughing, brocaded curtains drawn, nowhere-anywhere-is more safe than here.
The whole world is a cup one could hold in one's hand like a stone warmed by that same summer sun.
But the dead or the near dead are now all knucklebone.
Whoever is alone will stay alone.
Nothing to do.
Nothing to really do.
Toast and tea are nothing.
Kettle boils dry.
Shut the night out or let it in, it is a cat on the wrong side of the door whichever side it is on.
A black thing with its implacable face.
To avoid it you will tell yourself you are something, will sit, read, write long letters through the evening.
Even though there is bounty, a full harvest that sharp sweetness in the tea-stained air is reserved for those who have made a straw fine as a hair to suck it through- fine as a golden hair.
Wearing a smile or a frown God's face is always there.
It is up to you if you take your wintry restlessness into the town and wander on the boulevards, up and down.

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