Autumn comes, abrupt as a swinging door,
a sudden wind, like breaking glass,
hail-like rain, the skies darkening, floods
that disable cars, close our outdoor tennis courts
for the remainder of the year,
pushing us all, we lovers of the sun, worshipers of warmth,
aside, leave us feeling the uselessness of our effort
to maintain that superiority of place
which had been our stance, that sense
of control we had fantasized, as if some theory of geocentricity
was still valid. It was as if
a planetary tilt had taken place, almost magically, right before our eyes,
and which we have, once more, not even unconsciously anticipated,
and we are stripped, like Adam and Eve, of our naivet’e, our arrogance.
If we had voice to cry out we should do so now,
and one almost feels, like Job, that it’s terribly unfair.
But to whom could we shout, we, who have relegated
mythology to infantile fantasy, the cosmological presence to scientific analysis?
That’s the whole tenor of it: that summer, the heat, the greenery,
its every transient manifestation, was, for now, to be the whipping-boy
of a less agreeable universe. Forget that, it says.
Soft walks and soporific idleness, need be shrugged away,
like all actions, all thoughts, where the hard line,
the real struggle for existence
has not been fully accepted as the way our lives must be..
Oh, we fight against it, imagine that the whole bag
of adjustments, like woolen caps and overcoats
are the armamentarium, the soldier-like qualities,
we may reasonably utilize to stand up stick out
our chins and stare it down.
Indoors we water our plants, tend our gardens of mind,
ignore the droop of flowers we may have imagined were immortal.
We try very hard to pretend
this failure of nerve,
will be just as brief as in years before,
and that whatever summer
our lives have known will soon return.