I live in Saint Paul, Minnesota. We in these northern parts of our country often take the close of summer pretty hard. Winter’s ahead and we think of Beret Hansa in Giants in the Earth hemmed in by snow and going mad on the Great Plains. On the other hand, this time of year offers its golden beauty and opportunities for rest. MargaretHasse.com
A Notch in the Spiral
We’ve returned to autumn
leaving summer a clear lake on which lilies float.
We are back from the season of light,
of lying in warm grass and watching clouds fly;
we’re back from a time of round birds,
Summer still remains in my hair.
Hands sometimes hold sleek water.
There is the sweet cider of apples in store
and two combs of honey on the shelf.
Now the apples on the tree are faces,
the porch light is out,
and we huddle behind our separate doors.
We come back to autumn,
to zucchini that wilt like witches’ shoes,
to games of solitaire at night,
to silence in the wake of snow geese
that pass high overhead
and empty our mouths with their cries.
-reprinted from Stars Above, Stars Below
Hands of hard frost
rust yellow mums,
pick the red pulp
of late tomatoes.
Geese pulled away
honk as they pass
their chevrons south.
It’s time now to remove
those permissive sieves
of summer breeze,
time to welcome
wool socks and fleece,
to turn life outside in
and live a hermit’s life
with heaps of books,
with warm bread
and a pot of soup
the window glass.
-reprinted from Earth’s Appetite
A little ghosts trips on his sheet and cries out.
The smell of roasted pumpkin from jack-o’-lanterns
burning into the night drifts down the street.
A pint-sized pirate, an alien who lost his face,
and a famous baseball player run from house to house.
On foot, parents tail our trick-or-treaters, vigilant.
The white boy costumed as Jackie Robinson
didn’t put on black face with burnt cork
for the sake of my son’s real skin, a dark
that would have restricted him to the colored section
just two generations ago.
My own mask appears to be that of a fake mother
according to my hopped-up-on candy boy
acting out anger at adoption by calling names.
Yet I wear the worried look of any real mother
aware of what might hurt her child:
ragged unlit pavement, tampered loot,
and her own white skin standing in
for America’s malice as we pass a scarecrow
hanging by his neck in a front yard.
-reprinted from Milk and Tides
©2015 Margaret Hasse