The poet Maren Tirabassi reflects on the life of Christ, depicting autumn leaves showing their beauty, their brilliance, and their fragility–and then falling. Observe her weaving the seasonal into the scriptural, spanning His birth and, eventually, His crucifixion.
On Reading the Gospel of John in the Autumn. . .
In the beginning are the leaves,
and the leaves are fragile and beautiful,
and the leaves are on the tree.
The beauty and the fragility is life –
scarlet and golden,
and apples are with the leaves
and harvest and hope.
And there are saints to remember
and all souls – saintly and not so saintly,
and candles in pumpkins
lit for all their spirits.
And there are children begging
from door to door
with sheets on their heads.
Children are not the Word,
but we hear it from their lips.
And we come to Thanksgiving
but we cannot fully understand it –
not living water, bread of life, vine,
not foot washing, many rooms,
not even needing to let go.
The leaves fall from the tree
and we do not look up
into dark branches silhouetting truth
against October and November sunset.
But we be-leaved in our stubborn
raking up, lonely way
that something will be born –
not of blood nor of human will,
nor even of much-advertised,
the Advent season,
but of God.
And the Word becomes flesh,
full of grace, fragile
and beautiful and hanging on a tree.
Fall foliage in Florida . . . and in Pennsylvania
Do you have a favorite season?
Another poetry title (or quotation) to contribute?
Next week: Coming down the Pipeline, My New Book
I like spring and autumn best – spring for what is to come, and autumn for colourful lingering
Thank you for greeting us from the British Isles. I believe we have author friends in common, some named Merril, Robbie, and Liz. We are still waiting for the “lingering” in north Florida, today a humid one. 😀
Well said, Derrick!
Good morning, Marian! Early autumn is definitely a beautiful time of year!
And you capture so well the glory of sky and river with reflections. And trees too, of course, Thanks, Merril. 😀
We’re still waiting here. Thanks for the preview, Marian!
Probably Charlotte is later than part of NC with higher elevation. It will come soon though, sooner than the skimpy “show” we can expect in Florida, often in January.
Best wishes on your launch, Jill!
A little late but this is called SEPTEMBER written by Helen Hunt Jackson (1830-1885). She was an early advocate for our government’s bad treatment of Native Americans. She wrote a historical novel, Ramona, which romanticized American Indian culture. Probably a little “sappy” by today’s standards but I loved it. The woman who recommended it to me lived in the desert in NM and she & her daughter made their own adobes and built their house. She was the mother of Congressman Ryan who died in the Kool Aid massacre in Guyana. She was quite a woman! I went on to write a paper in a Master’s class comparing it to a Louise Erdrich book. There is an annual Ramona festival in CA. Will try to send you the poem.
Carol, I did find the poem you referred to here: https://www.poemhunter.com/poem/september-2/
I think Helen Hunt Jackson wrote poems about other months too. About Louise Erdrich, she indeed had American Indian heritage too, of the Ojibwe tribe. How cool that you compared the works of two women of similar culture.
You are never late commenting here. The welcome mat is always out. 😀
Autumn is my favourite time of year, hands down. I love everything about it. The cool air, the colours, the rich loamy smell of the earth. It energizes me.
I like this, from Richard Wagamese: ” I’ve been referred to as odd before. Nowadays, I prefer to refer to myself as ‘awed.’ I want awe to be the greatest ongoing relationship in my life. I want to move through my days floored by the magnificence and generosity of my Creator.”
Thanks for the lovely quote and for a reference to the earth as “loamy,” a word I like to associate with gardens and meadows. I’m not familiar with this author or the quote you shared. I will try to express awe and wonder today, Arlene. 😀
Your photographs are so beautiful Marian, thank you! As is the poem – I especially love
‘And the Word becomes flesh,
full of grace, fragile
and beautiful and hanging on a tree”
“Look to the season when choosing your cures.” — Hippocrates (I did a quick search!)
I’m glad you enjoyed Maren’s poetry. Thanks too for including the quote from Hippocrates, also new to me. I’ll try to ponder its meaning today, Susan. 😀
Nice comments here, Marian. I liked the idea of “awed” (above) too. And I clicked on your link to find this lovely poet. The poem has many layers, thanks for digging up and sharing–and the autumn photos. Trees are slow in turning here in Va. this year–they say and I agree. We have packed in our first installment of firewood over the last 3 days to the woodshed we finished a year ago. So we’re ready for that. 🙂 But with temps in the upper 70s, we don’t need heat in the house!
You are nestled in a lovely part of Virginia and notice the distinct seasons more in the country where you are prepping for winter. I love the idea of stacking firewood in the woodshed. Living in Florida, it doesn’t take much to heat our home in winter. Cooling in summer is a different story altogether. Thanks, Melodie! 😀
Thanks for stopping by to read and reply here. I remember you from EMC and your sweet-faced wife, who graduated in my class. And I admire your own contribution to your church and to social justice since your days at the College. You are always welcome here, Harvey. 😀
All seasons have their own kind of beauty; it all depends on perspective.
You are absolutely right, Maria Fatima. It’s good to have variety, that’s for sure. 😀
I agree, Maria Fatima. I am hard-pressed to choose a favorite season because each has its own particular beauty to recommend it.
Autumn is so beautiful. I was recently in Banff Alberta and the trees were changing colour. It was magical. The poem is lovely. I am always amazed at poets and their way with words. I have always been a summer person but I love all seasons.
I’ve noticed your gleeful smiles visiting with family–both on your blog and Facebook. Banff is lovely; we visited there once in summer. I imagine fall would be magical. Thanks, Darlene! 😀
Marian — Autumn by a landslide!
It’s probably pretty now in Boise–and for sure in Bellingham and Fairhaven, WA too! 😀
Beautiful poem and photos, Marian! Such a wonderful connection in the Word made flesh. I love the autumn’s cooler weather and colorful trees. The leaves are slowly changing here now.
Colored leaves look glorious just before they fall off and die. It strikes me that what happens in nature is sort of the reverse of the Gospel story. I’m glad you enjoyed the poetry and pictures, L. Marie! 😀
The beauty, the melancholy, the sadness, the letting go…the geese on our lake make their haunting farewells known every night…the beauty…”it is well, it is well with my soul!” Thank you, Marian for capturing it so well!
I’m glad you enjoyed the post and the”letting go” implied in Maren Tirabassi’s poem. Melancholy is part of the mood here, but so is victory, which is captured in the words you quote “It is well with my soul!” Thanks, Elfrieda!
Fall is by far my favorite season after the suffocating heat of summer in Florida. The colors, the smells are so refreshing. I found this note from a deceased relative…..the Bible says in Deuteronomy 20:18-20…”When you shall besiege a city a long time, in making war against it to take it, you shall not destroy the trees thereof by forcing an axe against them: for you may eat of them, and you shall not cut them down (for the tree of the field is man’s life) to employ them in siege.” …..relative’s comment…..”trees do seem so human in their being. They breathe, have circulation, eat, drink, grow, reproduce, work and rest and are among the most interesting living things on the face of the earth. Whenever we look at a tree we should think….it has some gifts for us. Trees live to give.”
You have a wise relative with words that fit all seasons. The quote reminds me of the line: “He being dead yet speaketh.” Thank you for sharing such a timely message here, Carolyn! 😀
Thank you, Karen! 😀
Like many others here, autumn is my favorite season. The colors and the weather are ideal. I love the comparison between the tree in Florida with the one in Pennsylvania. Both are beautiful!
You are right, Pete. The trick is to appreciate the seasons and the changes they each bring. Thanks! 😀
One of my favorite poems to mark the season, in this case spring, is “Instructions on Not Giving Up” by Ada Limon. https://poets.org/poem/instructions-not-giving
I’m take the risk and copy the link here, stunning with its color and imagery–wow!
More than the fuchsia funnels breaking out
of the crabapple tree, more than the neighbor’s
almost obscene display of cherry limbs shoving
their cotton candy-colored blossoms to the slate
sky of Spring rains, it’s the greening of the trees
that really gets to me. When all the shock of white
and taffy, the world’s baubles and trinkets, leave
the pavement strewn with the confetti of aftermath,
the leaves come. Patient, plodding, a green skin
growing over whatever winter did to us, a return
to the strange idea of continuous living despite
the mess of us, the hurt, the empty. Fine then,
I’ll take it, the tree seems to say, a new slick leaf
unfurling like a fist to an open palm, I’ll take it all.
Thanks for introducing me/us to this poet, new to me and maybe other commenters here. 😀
Fall is my favorite. It allows us to let go and go inside and begin the rest that winter brings. There are beautifully colored leaves to see, the smell of a wood stove warming someone’s home, hot soups and stews, and sweaters to throw over our shoulders as we dig into some serious reading. I hope you have a wonderful one, Marian.
Very poetic, Joan. Your comment reminds me of a certain book cover with falling leaves and a title that matches, Scattering Ashes: A Memoir of Letting Go: https://www.amazon.com/Scattering-Ashes-Memoir-Letting-Go-ebook/dp/B01JW0COPC/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1633546732&sr=1-4
Thanks for commenting!
Thanks for the kind nod, Bette! 😀
The poem is beautiful with its descriptive metaphors. And the colors of fall are always spectacular. It used to be my favorite time of year. At this time, I’m unaffected by seasons. <3
Debby, I imagine autumn has reached Toronto. I can understand how the change of seasons seems trivial to you, but I acknowledge not knowing or understanding the depth of your grief…still. 🙁
Hugs to you Marian. Six months tomorrow, our 22nd weddding anniversary on Saturday, and Canadian Thanksgiving weekend. October used to be my favorite month. <3
I see that you have discovered the lovely, talented, and amazing poet Maren Tirabassi too. She is especially good at ending a poem, don’t you think?
I have trouble picking a favorite season. Each new one brings joy, but winter loses its charms quickly, summer melts them away, spring has the advantage of leading into summer, but fall is the season of memory for me in Goshen, IN, The beginning of school, streets lined with maple trees bursting into flame, and the season of our first-born’s first ride home through a tunnel of gold and red.
Shirley, I have you to thank for introducing me to Maren, either through your blog or a Facebook posting, probably your blog.
Fall is nostalgic for me too. School begins and things settle into a routine, more or less. I do miss the tunnels of gold and red in a Pennsylvania autumn. I’ll probably catch it next season when we gather at my sister’s mountain home. Many thanks! 😀
Autumn and Spring are my two favourite seasons…I always remember Harvest Festival and the hymn “We plough the fields and scatter” is one of my favourites…your images are glorious Marian and the poem is a perfect choice 🙂
When you mentioned the hymn “We plough the fields and scatter” I heard the melody in my mind. I wonder if I can find the song in my hymnbook, maybe even play it on the piano, which hasn’t gotten much attention lately. It’s good to see you here, Carol. Thank you! 😀
Same here, Marian it popped into my head as I was reading your post…I love that hymn..it will be lovely if you can play it…:) x
I just did, Carol. You inspired me! 😀
What a beautiful poem Marian. I love being in Florida, but I admit that I miss the fall season in Chicago. There is the crispness in the air and on the sidewalk as you walk through the leaves. I hope you have a beautiful bench somewhere where you can sit, read the scriptures and Maren’s poem and take joy in the fall that is all around you.
There’s nothing like autumn where the 4 seasons are distinct–like Chicago and Lancaster County. Yes!
Cliff and I took a day trip to Fernandina Beach just an hour’s drive north of here, stayed in a schoolhouse converted into a B& B and scoped out some bookstores. It didn’t feel fallish until we returned home to a thunderstorm that turned the air cooler.
Enjoy your weekend, Melanie! 😀
Ha! Your B&B and bookstore trip sounds cool even if the air wasn’t. 🙂 And I love when I can stand undercover outside and feel that temperature drop during a storm. Have a great weekend too Marian.
HI Marian, this is a lovely poem and I enjoyed your autumn pictures. We are well into spring here in South Africa and I do love the first rains and all the gorgeous spring flowers.
Roberta, you and Susan Scott remind me that more than one season is happening simultaneously on our planet, you sliding into spring and I falling into autumn.
A poet yourself, I can understand why you would enjoy Maren’s style. Thank you! 😀
Lovely, Marian. We’re having a dull autumn in upstate NY without much color. It’s still beautiful and winter is ahead. You’re just heading into prime season in FL. Have a great sunny winter! My woodstove was cleaned of soot and inspected today for safe winter burning, but we’re having an unusually warm October. Still, I’m ready for the cold time even though always look forward to spring.
You’re smart, getting that wood stove cleaned out. I wonder if a quick cold snap would fire up the leaves any more. I remember in PA if the cold temps didn’t come at the right time, the leaf color could be rather tepid.
Yes, I do like winters in Florida with cooler temps and sunny skies. Still, I do miss the foliage. Thanks for your visit today, Elaine! 😀
Hi Marian – fall is definitely my favorite season. I love all the fall colors. I was wondering if there was fall foliage in Florida – now I know!
Barbara, we live in northeast Florida. I doubt you’d see much color on trees in Miami, except perhaps parrots sitting on tree limbs – ha! 😀
Your poem depicts poignantly that somewhere along the way many of us have forgotten the art of gratitude. We miss so much by walking by people which I compare with leaves that are changing their colours or better said, getting older. We don’t register in our hearts that things change. We are too busy seeking something outside of ourselves that we forget the beauty that we are allowed to see everyday in the people we know and love and in the people we pass by.
Maybe it is time that we rake away the leaves covering our hearts so that we can discover that which we think we have lost. It might be painful, but when the leaves are gone we will have discovered our humanity with mankind.
All the best.
I hear the wisdom here, poetically expressed. You are SO expressive, a gift!
As I age, more and more I too try to notice what’s in front of me, especially people of all sorts. Everyone is carrying a burden, whether they are smiling or frowning. Thanks for the reminder. I am grateful for you, Pat! 😀