A Reason None of Us Knows







…I have been younger in October
than in all the months of spring
walnut and may leaves the color
of shoulders at the end of summer
a month that has been to the mountain
and become light there
the long grass lies pointing uphill
even in death for a reason
that none of us knows…

my love is for lightness
of touch foot feather
the day is yet one more yellow leaf
and without turning I kiss the light
by an old well on the last of the month
gathering wild rose hips
in the sun
~W. S. Merwin from “The Love of October” from Migration


This warm wind gusts through shedding branches
stripping them bare
and carrying the leaves yards
far away, to a diverse gathering
they have never known:
chestnut, cherry, birch, walnut, apple,
maple, parrotia, pear, oak, poplar
suddenly sharing the same fate and grave,
each wearing a color of its own,
soon to blend with the others
as all slowly melt to brown.

There is lightness in the letting go,
for reasons none of us knows.








3 thoughts on “A Reason None of Us Knows

  1. Each leaf is beautifully unique, one of a kind, each shaped and hued differently — except
    for those that appear more tattered and erose than others, bespeaking the harshness they
    have experienced during their short existence – especially during violent times when
    all life surrounding them seems at risk of being destroyed.

    At the end of their allotted but purposeful life span they will return to the earth from which
    they came. And the Creator-God is pleased. His creations have served the purpose for which
    He created them. Now, once again, they enrich the soil, each leaving its own special contribution
    toward the next generation.

    Their individual differences – or ‘otherness,’ are of no import because they have shared in their
    Creator’s gift and, in time, this unseen birthing and dying mystery will continue….


  2. “Hawks stunting on the first cool winds hunt in vain/their prey driven down by a pale October sun/The creek, at low water, bares shoulders rarely seen/And stars in your hair make me wonder if penetration hasn’t occurred.”


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