Those fallen leaves, pale supplicants,
have much to teach us of surrender,
how, wrapped in autumn’s incense
they unfurl their flags to the wind

Every year I want to kneel in damp soil
and say farewell to blessed things:
the swift geese as they shout each to each
above the treetops, the white nicotinia
at my door, still releasing its fragrance
against the chill of evening,
the memory of a much-loved hand
the last day I held it

There was early morning light rich as silk,
the flash of late fireflies
amidst the cedar,
cows’ tails whisking in the ambers fields,
the chiaroscuro of a moth’s wing

Goodbye, brief lives,
ablaze with tenderness;
today the glory of the leaves
is enough, for I am learning a new
to release all I cannot hold,
these moments of luminous grace
saying Here and here is beauty,
here grief: this is the way to come home

Carolyn Smart
in memory of Kimberly