Monday, September 15, 2014

Under the Roots of Maples . . .

On the Daily Walk, which I won't take now until my foot improves, goldenrod always catches me at this time of year. In this portrait, you get an extra: seed pods of the invasive spotted knapweed. (They look like little pineapples.) I think this weed came from the vast sweeps of Russia. Knapweed has the clever trick of putting a chemical into the soil that prevents the seed of other plants from sprouting, while knapweed seeds don't mind. Reminds one of the Koch Brothers.

Fall Grass

This is the season when the darkest grass
Flows in its deepest waves, on fading stubble;
The time of cattle brought to stable
At dusk; and moonlit water still as glass.

Smoke in the mornings, and always a crow caws
On wagging wings. Across the first strewn litter
Of leaves a squirrel scurries, and children loiter
In roadside pastures after ripening haws.

Time to be thoughtful: time to be getting on
With threshing and fall plowing: time to gather
Eelgrass, for banking house . . . A frail white feather
Of frost shines in the grass blades and is gone.

Slowly the days grow colder, the long nights fall;
Plows turn the stubble, fires are tended, and apples
Mellow in cellars; and under the roots of maples
Mice are burrowing. And the high geese call.

Charles Bruce  (1906-1971)

Open Wide a Wilderness; Canadian Nature Poems,
Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2009, page 143.

Here in Northern Michigan one feels very close to Canada. And autumn grows to have a special meaning. I notice that this poet was born in the same year as my father, but did not live as long. So now I've looked him up and found the story of a man who went his own careful way. I have been moved. His "clear, direct, metrical" verse in The Mulgrave Road  won the Governor General's Award in Canada about 1950. There was one old copy left on Amazon. 
I have just ordered it.

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