The Fall

Friday 27th October


  • In the beginning

I never really see the Fall coming

Too swept up in sweet Summer’s sway

To notice the slow dwindling of day

Or the bees – no longer humming


I always fail to spot that slow turning of leaves

Burning viridian, flame and umber

Closing down for long Winter’s slumber

Always too busy, I believe

Too absorbed in my own world

My frantic search for deeper meanings

Too lost in wonder, dreams and keenings

To witness Autumns flag’s unfurled


Too eager to reveal the inner reason…

To notice the passing of another season

Watching closely the mirror’s reflection

For tiny signs of imperfection

I fail to capture the image at all

And miss, entirely – the Fall


I never see the Fall coming until it’s far too late

And Winter’s icy grip has bound me tight

Autumn fading in a fog-drenched light

And me, lost in a mist, and left to my fate


  • It happened like this


I always get this irresistible urge to please people

By telling them exactly what they want to hear

Which is neither what I want to say

Nor what they need to know.

It’s the pleasure, that spark,

That gleam of excitement in their eyes

As they realize

Or mistakenly assume

They’ve won

That is so addictive for me.


But I really should have listened to her this time

I should have looked beyond the words she was saying

To discover what she meant

What she was trying so hard to let me know


The trouble is

I hear the words they say

But never decant the true spirit

The clear essence

Out of the sediment of emotions

Murking my muddied mind.


I am too involved in being the artist

The dilatory creator

With his magic box of oils

Mixing and daubing

Blending the tints

Melding them

Caressing the paint

Onto the canvas

Of our entwined bodies


Because – I am never really in the picture at all

I am outside the frame

Admiring my own handiwork

And, like all bad artists

Never knowing when to stop

I keep on tinkering

Teasing out the crease of a line here

Darkening a hue there

Redefining the sadness in her eyes

Until all that sparkling glimmer is lost

In a flood

A welter of tears


I had been a diligent listener in early Spring

When listening was part of the key

To gently turn

The tumblers of her heart

But I hadn’t heard what she was really trying to tell me


I had been too busy amassing

An arsenal of clues

With which to reconstruct

The perfect picture of her

Triggers to fire the hand-worked clay

Salt to crack the wounded glaze



She would be gone.


Remembering those golden Summer moments of love

When the only thing you hear is the quick pound

Of hearts-a-flutter

And those waves of contentment come cascading in


Her flushed face

And hot damp breath on my chest

While my fingers stroke and comb her tousled hair

Her skin, which was alabaster cool, is now hot

Aroused and tender

So tender that the merest touch traces

A blotchy line of red

To these dilettante fingertips.


And then the morning

With her hot little body

Curled up against my back.

The dank taste of her slept-in body

The sharp and loamy smell of her

Crumbs of sleep still blinkering her eyes

The folds of her ears like translucent filigree shells

And those wayward tendrils of hair at the nape of her neck


The rust of desire

And the verdigris of hope.


And I never heard what she was trying to tell me

Only the words she used

I never took the time to discover the person swimming

Deep beneath the surface.

I never discerned her frantic Autumn struggle

To escape the net

I had spread so tentatively for her


Like a water boatman

Skimming the pond for reactions

I was lurking

Waiting and listening

Recording the minute changes in surface tension

Unaware that she had swallowed too much water already

And was far beneath me now

Swept deep down and swirling away

With the swift-flowing current

And out of my grasp forever.


  • It always ends the same


And I never see the approaching Fall

I never notice the trip

The moment I lose it all

The stumble and the drop


They say it doesn’t hurt at all

When you fall

Only when you land


But like a fistful of silver-sand

That slips, mercury-smooth through my fingers

My mind still lingers

I am so dazzled by the glittering strand

Watching the endless stream,

That gleams like the fire of my dreams

Sparkling – just like this hard Winter’s frost

Only later do I open my empty hand

And discover just what it is I have lost.