Tuesday, 23 October 2012

An Affinity with the Life Force of Dead Leaves


A new poem today for autumn, and falling leaves everywhere (not confined to autumn) in a very blustery wind.

We all feel low sometimes. Only yesterday, I found myself relating to a dead leaf in the street, heading for a drain; a depressing experience until I reminded myself that it was not the end of the last leaf in the whole world; others would follow in an endless cycle of life and death where dying is not so much the beginning of the end but a way of leaving space for new beginnings.

An old man who lived on the street where I was born and lived until I was 14 years-old told me once that I should never fear death but think of it as a life-force. He was not a religious person so I thought his 80-something years must have taken their toll or perhaps it was just wishful thinking. (He died only weeks later.) It has taken me more than half a century to understand what he meant.


I drifted lonely as a leaf
left to fare as it will on a wintry breeze,
perhaps (who knows?) missing
its parent tree, the company of siblings,
playing host to feathered friends
as long as their seasons last, world
a happier place if only a kinder nature’s
wistful take on it

Who can ever say (for sure)
a leaf cannot think, feel, experience
the ebb and flow of life
in ways only Earth Mother knows
who gives, takes away,
and gives back again when the time
comes to renew her vows to humankind
at each spring blessing?

I watched the leaf sucked
into a drain, lost forever among sewage
beyond salvaging (who knows?)
as I feel myself sucked into a vortex
scaremongers call Old Age
where the hope is we’ll be saved  
as lovingly pressed collectables between
pages of living memory

Did it feel rejected, the leaf,
and was it glad to drown in a dark sewer
where all the world’s garbage
flows into its seas, as likely to kill off 
countless life forms as the shrewd
property developer felling trees
or an old poet infecting imagination
with its worst fears?

Back home, a glossy magazine,
repudiating my distress as bold as brass
with the latest fashions pics,
celeb gossip, ideas to impress the boss,
tips on keeping old age at bay;
in the garden, leaves faring better  
than a gutter (compost) giving glossy
a good run for its money

Copyright R. N. Taber 2012

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