Some time before,
In the first green garden of the world,
The Gardener, Himself,
Stood knee deep in the soil,
Toiling over the primal seed
Which he so prized.......
It grew before His eyes
Until its strong hewn limbs
Had made His garden fair,
So he watered carefully day by day,
And when the leaves had done their work,
Providing for the long and lonely night,
He let them fall,
That young new leaves,
Might newer burdens bear;
But He was not uncaring
For those who served Him well......
The sages tell us
That he set the fallen leaves to rest
Upon the blessed soil
Until that time when they could share
The final fruit
Which they had earned through honest toil,
And thus He made them mute.
In the quiet of the frosty wood,
Where empty branches hang on air,
I have seen the leaves lying on the ground,
And have, in fact, observed their falling;
And even had I not,
I could not void the fact that I have heard
The whisper of the wind in calling
Each and every leaf by name,
Until they rustled gently on the ground,
Expounding freely how it felt
To color gold and brown and red,
Knowing beauty at the cost
Of letting life grow cold.
And had that proved
Not proof enough,
I knew that living leaves
Would rather color green than red.
Their lifelessness had startled me,
Because I am afraid of death
And fear the wind that tears my soul
As surely as the breezes tear
The leaves from every tree,
To launch them, quite unwillingly,
Into the void of that which may
Or may not come for them or me.
The first exploring flake of snow,
Fell and rested on my brow,
To be a magnet, draw my eyes.
To fill them, not without surprise,
With kindred flakes, a multitude
Of white invaders to the wood,
Whose purpose was to vanquish me
And kiss the last leaf from the tree;
To cover all that fell before,
‘Til Earth was just a crystal floor
O’er which my feet would slip and slide.
They caught the tears I might have cried
And brought white comfort to my soul.
I left the wood self-satisfied,
Still thinking of the leaves below.
Copyright (c) Fall 1964 by James R. Hoye