The Flame of Autumn

The dawn chill of autumn,

Causing fog at the mouth when we speak

The pale sliver of sunlight,

Turning the spider webs to crystal dream-catchers

The amber hay bales in the fields,

Surrounded by a halo of hovering particles

The corn drying on the stalks, crisp and crunchy,

Forming a maze for children’s games

The old barns on the hills, chipped and decrepit,

Like the haunted houses in campfire tales

The goldenrod, dancing in the wind,

Holding their blonde heads high in the meadow

The heavy mist in the valley

Swirling ‘round trees once gay green, now elegant orange

There is so much life, and yet beneath the surface

The sting of death threatens

The bite in the air suggests it,

Piercing clothing to make one shiver

There is a stillness settling over the earth

Like the first and last day of creation

The birds’ songs are softer

Like Elfin lays lamenting a fading glory

The color of the leaves is bursting bright

But will soon turn to blood, wither, and fall

The moments seem to crawl by

Like the spread of frost across a window pane

The nights come suddenly, like a thief

Without the summer sun to ward them off

They are heavier now

Like the winter blankets taken from attic chests

My soul is burdened

By an awareness of aloneness

As empty as a jack-o-lantern

With a nightmarish expression of despair

As hollow as the eye-sockets

Of a moldering skull

As meaningless as the echo

Of cawing crows flying over the pumpkin clusters

I long for fire instead of ice

For understanding instead of confusion

For the embrace of loved ones long gone

Instead of my own arms braced against the cold

But most of all, I long for God

To ask to feel the presence of Him

Is a thing that is known to wound

Agony comes with ecstasy

Even for the saints, among whom I hold no place

Brilliance is blinding and searing

When it pierces the smothering blackness

But I would take it, nonetheless

Sink me into fire, plunge me into ice,

But do not let me wander alone in shadows

Let us have a place all to ourselves

Where I can lay my head on Your breast

Where I may hear your voice whispering

Out of the gentle breeze, no longer chilling

Let us be lover and beloved in the depth of the night

And let not my own self separate us

For You are the Love of Loves

The delight of all things, the breath of life

Let me at least tend the wounds

That I caused you to receive, as a handmaid

Let me feel the peace that comes with fullness

For an instant, to light the winter’s dark

Be the flame of autumn in this changing, chilling world

And in my trembling heart

It is all I need

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