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September 30, 2015

Autumn and My Mother’s Words. {Poem}

Autumn boy

From the Autumn Equinox until Christmastide,

My late mother’s words regarding life and motherhood
Are poignant to me:
“I love fall. So much of the hard work is done.”
I have heard people claim
Autumn as their favorite season.
It is like vapor soon gone.

This is what my mother said about our two sons—
Born nineteen months apart:
“Enjoy them now. They grow up so fast.
And then they are gone.”
Their childhoods are like vapor soon gone.

Autumn is a metaphor of life.
It drops on you, like tinted leaf whispers,
Gold and achingly beautiful,
Akin to a young boy with curls like transparent straw,
Sporting a green sweatshirt,
Racing through the late summer sunlight
Toward Ice Lake.

Our elementary-age twin-alike
Sons came running to the front door
Presenting a small dead snake.
Their mother shrieked.
They were kind and never again
Scared me with a snake, dead or alive.

I remember that summer
We bicycled around the eight mile loop
At least once every day
In shorts and scant t-shirts.
By the end of the season
Our Scandinavian ancestry was
Indiscernible but for sun-paled hair.

The scent of the nearby Valley sweet grass,
So common to us back then,
Comes to me every autumn—
Now that I am home again.
Even today, I have a small bunch of it
In an old cream bottle by the door.
As it dries, the more fragrant it becomes.

One Halloween the brothers became dapper,
Dressed like tiny olden-day doctors—
Round glasses, bowler hats, plastic stethoscopes—
Vests, and garters on their sleeves.
The one Halloween they dressed like Smurfs
Was a blunder on my part,
Damaging them for life.
Maybe eternity.

I wish All Hallows Eve had had significance to me
Then, as it does now.
I did not realize.
I had lost so few people.
Their childhoods were like vapor
Soon gone.

My two sons and I annually delighted
Over decorating the Christmas tree together.
Every ornament held a magic
As every type of singer crooned
Countless classic carols on the player.
This ritual lasted for a few years.
Suddenly they were too sophisticated for it.

Now that offspring are no longer present,
I obsess and morph into the anticipating child,
On my own, every Autumn Equinox through Christmastide.
“I love fall. Most of the hard work is done.”
“Enjoy them now. They grow up so fast.
And then they are gone.”
“Enjoy your parents now.
They are soon gone,” I could add.
A mother’s words.

~

Relephant:

The Autumn Ride. {Poem}

~

Author: Jean Larson

Editor: Caitlin Oriel

Image: Flickr/Philippe Put

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Jean Larson