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The poets would tell you that the autumns leaves dance
Playful eddies in the autumn wind.
The autumn leaves, of red and gold drifting every so musically

In reality, they sit, sodden, on the grass
That you forgot to mow one last time
And now the rake drags resentfully through the mess

Always, even though it’s posted,
Someone leaves their car parked, right in front of your house
on the day that the street cleaner comes

He leaves a large loop of unswept leaves under the scofflaw
Glaring at you, fitfully raking as he drives by.
You want to chase him so he knows it’s not your car

Like Dylan’s poetic snow, the leaves are not only shaken
In rain washed buckets off the trees,
But come shawling up out of the ground

drifting and piling and sticking to your boots
where you will trail them into your house
where you will have to rake them up, inside your house.

The ones that fall to the roof stick in the gutters
Where they’ll sit until you pull out the treacherous ladder
Not quite tall enough, and, standing on the sticker that says
Do not stand on this step
Reach over your head to pull out the sodden mass,
Thinking, “this is how I die.”

for the dverse prompt of 11//26/19: Plath, Hughes and invasive things, with thanks and apologies to Dylan Thomas

17 thoughts on “A single woman’s Thanksgiving in Chicago

  1. This is strongly in the Hughes style. Years ago I started paying a lawn service They earn their money this time of year.

    • The problem with the lawn service is they have no respect for not-lawn. I’ve lost too many plants to over enthusiastic blowing and mowing.

  2. I enjoyed your realistic, bordering on grim, view of leaves. I like the part about poets can make them dreamy, but leaves, especially oak, can be a real hassle to get up and dispose of. I also like the part about you chasing the leaf picker-upper to explain 🙂

  3. I agree with Glenn that you have taken on Ted’s style, Xan. As much as we enjoy their colours, autumn leaves are indeed invasive. I nearly slipped on wet leaves recently. I like the resentful rake and the lines:
    ‘drifting and piling and sticking to your boots
    where you will trail them into your house’
    and
    ‘The ones that fall to the roof stick in the gutters
    Where they’ll sit until you pull out the treacherous ladder
    Not quite tall enough, and, standing on the sticker that says
    Do not stand on this step
    Reach over your head to pull out the sodden mass,
    Thinking, “this is how I die.”’

  4. So timely! We are moving in the Spring, largely because my son is retiring and wishes to retire from raking leaves as well!!! Your poem captures the battle quite well. We do have gutter covers, but a large yard and driveway which become carpeted with leaves.

  5. Oh my -what great images you created. I could see and feel it all and the sounds and smells swept in with the leaves as well. Appreciate that you let us draw our own conclusions for what the metaphor might be in our own lives. Lovely work.

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