Following the Seasons


When October comes around

we check our closets

for a change of clothes,

ready at last to dress for looks

after the short sleeved months,

and stop talking about heat

as the first of winter’s hawks

circles a crossroad in the city

to remind us of the open space

beyond it. The immigrants

who spent the summer cutting grass

are sowing lawns

for those who cling to green

as if it were youth. Into the warmth

of cracks in the walls

the tip of summer’s tail

disappears with the geckos.

The forecast is for starlings

swarming across a sky

overflowing with their speckled cries

and the arrival

of refugees from old age and cold

whose love for the city

is measured in mercury.

Clouds pass through the eye

of a needle while we wait

for spring migration

to bring back the White-winged Doves

and when last year’s Cactus Wren

circles the neighbourhood

with his familiar call

we recycle another page

from the calendar. Away it goes,

with all the cans and bottles,

unread newspapers, in the big green truck

on its way to transform

our waste and bring it back

with new contents. Only the summer

comes back without wrappings.

It arrives with no brand name,

no guarantee,

and no policy of returns

when we are dissatisfied.

First it is too dry, then too wet,

then it turns on its heel

and goes south, leaving

thirst in its wake. We contemplate

the seasons, take a long drink of light

and tune in to the news from the poles

already aware we shall hear

that the ice

is thinner this year than last.





David Chorlton
Photo Nick Victor

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