Archaeology of Autumn
by E. Forrest Frank
An archaeology of autumn covers the ground.
The story told as if pages in a book.
The first and deepest layer are the acorns of late summer,
The remembrances of squirrels and chipmunks working,
gathering these gifts for the winter to come.
Perhaps they paused now and then for a bit of play.
Black gum was the first to color in the latest summer,
reds, brilliant, fluorescent,
First to color and first to fall.
Maples came next. They flashed their flash of color,
yellows, oranges, and red. Then their moment passed.
Down they fell to crisp a carpet on earth.
Next came the grandest of the grand,
tuliptrees with leaves turned gold in the autumn light,
big leaves, bold leaves, the color of the sun.
The oaks are the last bastion of summer,
their leaves a muted rainbow of warm browns.
They hold tight to the limbs, clinging to the past,
waiting to release their grip
under the late fall rains or early snows of winter.
At last they drop.
The season completes its cycle,
The beginning and the end of the tale.
to form this archaeology of autumn.