Tim Hawkins: “Improvisation in Autumn”

Improvisation in Autumn

I’m mindful of those who feel some peril in the change of season
bringing an end to the confusion
of night-blooming flowers and open windows
—a sudden, calamitous chill of clarity
in the precipitous drop
from late summer to sudden fall.

And I’m mindful of those who realize that surviving
the dead calm menace of our dog days
and close afternoons of buzzing flies
is no guarantee of spring.

To some children, I suppose, summer is already a half-remembered fiesta
whose rain-soaked confetti lies unnoticed along the roadside,
while for others there may remain troubling dreams
of twilight deer and fireflies.

I could mention a host of others:
the stranger whose arms grow thinner with each passing year,
the bruised young wife who sobs into her fists—not for the final time,
and those who look away from the others and from themselves
when their lives pass in the street.

As a courtesy I might also mention
the rain and the swaying branches
that form the backdrop to the pageant of their lives.

Or I could just stop and admit
to an awkward sort of contrived spontaneity
in this poem, which in some sense, at least,
mirrors much about those lives:

a failed improvisation on the whole, but a performance, nonetheless,
containing seeds of promise and moments of light,
not to mention the usual passel of lies
and a cast of thousands.



Tim Hawkins has lived and traveled widely, working as a journalist, technical writer, and teacher in international schools. His writing has been nominated for Best of the Net, the Pushcart Prize, and Best Microfiction. His poetry collection, Wanderings at Deadline, was published in 2012. Find out more at his website: www.timhawkinspoetry.com

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