Today is the autumn equinox. It marks the beginning of autumn, my favourite season. I look forward to cooler days and nights, cuddling up under a woolen blanket with a glass of red wine in one hand, and a book in the other. What books? Ghost stories, especially those written by M.R. James which have a lot of spooky atmosphere. His stories often take place in dark ancient cathedrals and haunted houses. When October comes around, I will post my favourite ghost stories.
In the meantime, here is a poem about the Japanese maple. In Japan, the autumn equinox is a public holiday (as is the spring equinox).
by Clive James
Your death, near now, is of an easy sort.
So slow a fading out brings no real pain.
Breath growing short
Is just uncomfortable. You feel the drain
Of energy, but thought and sight remain:
Enhanced, in fact. When did you ever see
So much sweet beauty as when fine rain falls
On that small tree
And saturates your brick back garden walls,
So many Amber Rooms and mirror halls?
Ever more lavish as the dusk descends
This glistening illuminates the air.
It never ends.
Whenever the rain comes it will be there,
Beyond my time, but now I take my share.
My daughter’s choice, the maple tree is new.
Come autumn and its leaves will turn to flame.
What I must do
Is live to see that. That will end the game
For me, though life continues all the same:
Filling the double doors to bathe my eyes,
A final flood of colours will live on
As my mind dies,
Burned by my vision of a world that shone
So brightly at the last, and then was gone.