SESTINA IN INDIAN SUMMER
After the frost summer returns and settles
Into the orchard. The sluggish yellowjacket
Describes its ovals over the bright windfall,
And the leaves begin to color our landscapes
The russet of oak and the maples' ocher.
This is no time for us to think of winter
And its white song, no time to sing of winter,
Of fires on our hearths, before our settles,
Running along the backlog turning ocher
And crimson. The chestnut falls from its jacket
Into roots; sunlight lies long on our landscapes.
We listen in the night to hear the wind fall
And wonder when it will rise again to fall,
To take the leaves and pile them into winter
Among the stooks that walk across our landscapes.
It is enough for now that the wind settles
Into breeze and the grass removes its jacket
Of frost while the landscapes of maple, oak, or
Chestnut put on their robes of russet, ocher,
Saffron, and settle in to wait for the fall.
Asters and cedars have the yellowjacket
Along the brook, and we will not now inter
Our languid hours where the dragonfly settles
Among the rushes. The warmth of the land escapes
Slowly eastward toward the stony coasts, capes
And bays where the vacant beach wears a choker
Of brown kelp, a necklace of shells that settles
Into the sand. We wait and ignore the fall
Of leaves, the failing summer, and the winter
Impending. We hear the late yellowjacket
Circle, the horsechestnut fall from its jacket
Of thorns; we watch color transform our landscapes,
Knowing that the allcolor of our winter
Is nascent beneath this flowering of ocher.
This renaissance of summer is but windfall.
Soon we will hunker down upon our settles
In sweater and jacket. Backlogs of oak or
Maple will burn; their smoke will stitch our landscapes
To the winter weather that falls and settles.
By Lewis Turco
From The Collected Lyrics of Lewis Turco / Wesli Court 1953-2004, Scottsdale, AZ: www.StarCloudPress.com, 2004, 460 pp., ISBN 1-932842-00-4, jacketed cloth; ISBN 1-932842-01-2, trade paperback. Also available in a Kindle edition.