Speak plainly, said November to the maples, say
what you mean now, now
that summer’s lush declensions lie like the lies
they were at your feet. Haven’t
we praised you? Haven’t we summer after summer
put our faith in augmentation.
But look at these leaving of not-enough-light:
It’s time for sterner counsel now.
It’s time, we know you’re good at this, we’ve
seen the way your branched
articulations keep faith with the whole, it’s time
to call us back to order before
we altogether lose our way. Speak
brightly, said the cold months, speak
with a mouth of snow. The scaffolding is
clear now, we thank you, the moon
can measure its course by you. Instruct us,
while the divisions of light
are starkest, before the murmurs of con-
solation resume, instruct us in
the harder course of mindfulness.
Speak truly, said April. Not just
what you think we’re hoping to hear, speak
so we believe you.
The child who learned perspective from the
stand of you, near and nearer,
knowing you were permanent, is counting
the years to extinction now. Teach her
to teach us the disciplines of do-less-harm. We’re
capable of learning. We’ve glimpsed
the bright intelligence that courses through the body
that contains us. De +
cidere, say the maples, has another face.
It also means decide.