Wednesday, December 14, 2016

"Falling Leaves" by John C. Mannone, Frequent Contributor

John C. Mannone

They might be called trees of righteousness
Poplars twirl parallel to ground
Cupping air as they softly land

Maples see-saw their way down
Stabbing sky with serrated leaves

            In the palm of their hands, fingers curl
            Others point to those still quivering
            On the branches, waving goodbye in the wind
            In a garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness

Hickory spins about its leaf-stem
Veins suspend blood in centripetal motion

Some leaves quake and flutter—it all depends
On how much sugar and xanthophyll
On how much rain, when the cold

Snaps their will
One last radiance of color
Their surrender

            To battle
            To the onset of brittle shells
            To the mottle and brown

Give unto them beauty for ashes
the oil of joy for mourning

They willingly return to soil
To their place of birth

            These souls
            Of trees

Poet’s Notes: While hiking a nature trail in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park during a recent autumn, I noticed the dynamics of falling leaves and how different they were for each species. And at about the same time, I thought of the tree symbolism in the Bible. I wanted to give a special life to trees in this poem, not just to use them as symbols for nations or individuals. I absorbed certain Scriptures (italicized text/ Isaiah 61:3) and turned them inward toward the heart of trees to feed the pathetic fallacy.

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