Autumn Elegy

I changed the poem and entered it in the 2014 San Francisco Writing Competition. It won the poetry prize, and I’m re-posting the final version here:

Autumn Elegy

All the grapes are gone,
stripped off in a single morning,
while we were busy sleeping.
Gnarled vines
cling to leaves
washed in the blood of sunset–
vestments of some Holy Eucharist –
preparing our fate.

Autumn is urgent
against the window,
gusting the shards of Summer
into the silence of twilight.
The air conjures revelations —
Alpha and Omega,
when everything was possible,
before the Fall.

Children of privilege,
we took on the World,
made marvelous plans,
were wrecked by success.
Burdened by an oppressive light —
the weight of expectations,
dreams realized.
Only to discover in the end
we dreamed too small.

Today we watch
crows gather windfall walnuts,
in the still-green grass of the churchyard.
And everywhere the smells of death –
spent petunias, tattered remnants
of Naked Ladies on a hillside,
mounds of moldy oak leaves —
lie in wait.

© 2013 Genyne Long


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