Last Leaves of Autumn - Valerie Mendes
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Last Leaves of Autumn

Last Leaves of Autumn

For Blenheim: 18 November 2021

See the last leaves of autumn drift
Down to their carpet of gold, then lift
Carried by breezes cool and dry.
Canada geese above me fly
Honking hoarse voices into sky
Dappled and dangerous, cry by cry.

Inside the Courtyard, lights enhance.
Roundabout horses wait to prance.
Fir trees beckon. Workers heave
Bare-armed and muscular. “Make way, please!”
Decorate every graceful Gate:
Gold-leafed, miraculous. Now we wait

Counting the short days, one by one,
Telling our story again. Do come
Into the Shop whose sweet delights
Tempt those jaded appetites
Brighten sore eyes, lift tired hearts:
Go to admire as Christmas starts.

Into the bottles sit, side by side,
Waters from Blenheim, sparkling with pride,
Churchill’s white port with its delicate punch,
Honey and marmalade, biscuits’ crunch,
Hats to keep dry under, coats for their looks,
Baubles and china cups, cushions and books.

Watch the last leaves of autumn cling
Fast to their cobwebbed branches. Sing
Carols we know by heart, hymns that seem real.
Joyfully promise me while the bells peal
Pandemic end’s in sight. So we’ll rejoice
Autumn to winter’s end, join with one voice.