Ways of Looking at Autumn Leaves

This is in the style of Wallace Stevens: 13 Ways of looking at a blackbird. This is my take on that. Although it is still late summer here in the Southern US. I am dreaming of autumn and the coming of winter.  This is being posted for Real Toads Tuesday Platform

Ways of Looking at Autumn Leaves
“Nothing can cure the soul but the senses, just as nothing can cure the senses but the soul.” ― Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray

autumn leaves float
on the surface of the pond
dreaming of summer
wind blows through the trees
rustling the leaves.
they become
an ocean of sound
an owl sails through
the night sky –
the autumn leaves sleep
leaves sunk to the bottom
of the pond
are the color of the eyes of deer
crows in the trees
cackle and crow –
the leaves fall in silence
blown by the wind
the lacy foliage of a cedar
captures an autumn leaf
cold wind causes the leaves
to shiver and shake –
bitterness under a full moon
the last leaf clings to the branch.
snow begins to fall –
the last leaf finally lets go

copyright Kanzen Sakura

14 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. anmol(alias HA)
    Oct 02, 2018 @ 14:44:18

    Oh my, this is beautiful. I find it even more so because Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird is my favorite Stevens’ work — I tend to find something new and tangible in its ever-expanding imagery everytime I read it. I am pretty sure that that would be the case when I revisit this poem.

    From the color of the eyes of the deer and the sailing owl to the bitterness under the moon and the last clinging leaf, you’ve captured both the mood and the tension of the season in its myriad forms and textures so well. I loved it!


  2. Björn Rudberg (brudberg)
    Oct 02, 2018 @ 15:36:24

    Of course I also remembered the 13 ways … I like how you tied them together into a narrative from the first falling leave to the coming of winter….


  3. Pat: willow88switches
    Oct 02, 2018 @ 16:58:43

    This is a wonderful and personal take or inspired by … poem Toni. I don’t think you could actually “copy” the original, because this is your voice – your words – and oh, how they capture all the different aspects, the sounds, the colours, the feelings of Fall. And I mean wow – in such an impacting, yet sensitive way.

    Each verse stands alone and yet each adds and builds on the others, leaving us different ways of enjoying this piece. And what a rich tapestry of scenes – ocean of sound, silence for the sleeping, but not of the owl, silence for the crows playing high court, the lace of the cedars catching (?? – just stunning this one!) … etc. and then the final, resolution, of letting it all go;

    for the brilliance that is fall, for as bold and brash as it is with one face, it is as equally subdued and grave, for its inevitable end – and yet, like these poems/ one poem – it is always, filled with elegance, eloquence and grace ~

    Chapeau Toni! Brava!


    • kanzensakura
      Oct 02, 2018 @ 17:52:49

      Wow. Thank you Pat. A chapeau and a Brava. I love this modern ancient Japanese way if writing. I guess it shows. When I was a wee lass, I was “adopted” by a next door neighbor, professor of Eastern Studies at Duke University. He was an old maidish persnickety sort but we go on like gangbusters. He taught me all about Japanese culture and years later I had a Japanese lover who taught me more. I guess the fruits of their labor is finally paying off. I now deeply in thanks.

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      • Pat: willow88switches
        Oct 02, 2018 @ 18:44:26

        for however you’ve come to this moment, this now … you have journeyed far and wide, by the lanterns of a thousand and one moons …. 🙂 such is elegance in grace for the gifts we receive, even if we sometimes call them by other names.


  4. coalblack
    Oct 02, 2018 @ 18:44:57

    These are marvelous! My favorite is 4.


  5. Sherry Blue sky
    Oct 02, 2018 @ 20:06:42

    Beautiful, Toni. Fall is my favourite season. I can feel it today, a chill in the wind, the waves look cold, wearing little white caps, and everything is leafy.


  6. thotpurge
    Oct 03, 2018 @ 02:14:59

    Love 13 ways..tried it a couple of times.. I especially love the 5th..the cacophony and the silent leaves…and the colour of the deer’s eyes!


  7. kim881
    Oct 03, 2018 @ 02:57:06

    This took me back to Bjorn’s prompt of a few years ago. I love all the ways you look at leaves, Toni, and several leaped out at me, especially the contrast in
    ‘crows in the trees
    cackle and crow –
    the leaves fall in silence’
    and the bitter-sweetness of
    ‘the last leaf clings to the branch.
    snow begins to fall –
    the last leaf finally lets go’.


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