An Early Autumn Chill
Though bit by bit the mullein blossoms wither
and daisy fleabane slowly turns to seed,
white cabbage butterflies still sip the liquor
of clover — skipping, capering, keen to breed.
While sunflowers hang their heads to catch the murmur
of bumblebees, and pumpkins put on weight,
woolly bears, fueled up on summer’s flora,
seek a secret place to hibernate.
Vast hordes of them are crushed on roads and highways,
quite out of harmony with human haste,
their bristles useless, too, against the sparrows
which love them (though it’s an acquired taste).
Should they cocoon, they will emerge next April
and roam the night when bats are on the prowl,
yet few will fill the bellies of those mammals
which dare not fiddle with a bug so foul.
Fields team with asters mimicking the sun god
with myriad rays of brilliant blue or pink
and eyes of gold to charm the pollinators
as day by day the region’s rations shrink.
Gone are the cardinal’s whistle, the hummer’s hustle,
the robin’s comical hops across the lawn,
the mockingbird’s adroit impersonations.
So deafening, this quietude at dawn!
Black-eyed Susans drop their lemon petals,
Sol is sinking fast behind the hill,
milkweed down is hovering and dancing,
and chickadees fluff their feathers against the chill.
by Martin J. Elster
Editor’s Note: I confess to having a great fondness for iambic pentameter. In this poem, the slow groove of the meter highlights the descriptive imagery and brings the reader into the narrator’s autumn.