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This is the time of year when golden-agersare taken on buses to view the autumn foliageas though the sight and scent of yellowed treeswill stuff them with beautiful thoughtsand keep them from knowing --

as if there were still a trace of undamagedhunger -- for simple beauty, for colours,the sun falling frail on the fretwork of every leaf, the trumpeting surpriseof the earth turning, returning.

Amazing the way they sit there oohing and ahhing,behaving themselves and choking back their anger,while non-stop movies play behind their eyesscenes of unfiltered lightand focused rage --

God's handiwork, one of them piously announces --and maybe when you get to be that ageyou're willing to take the metaphorsyou get, just to keep going:dried sap, shrinkage, brittleness at the heart

or else the blind unthinking leverageof custom, of perverse habit,assembling around a summons to praisewhat is fading, taking the cornersquietly, making the best of things

© Shields Carol