From Autumn to Winter In middle May the seasons shift and winter looms in one bleak week while leaves still fall and twirl and drift. The south wind chills my wrinkled cheek and stirs the leaves to swirl and lift. I stand to watch them sifting down: some join the scatter on the ground, their fading gold among the brown, while others ride the wind around, and some still cling to summer’s crown. I see myself at this life stage: a part still clinging to the tree, that burgeoning of middle age, while I have dropped some parts of me that held me in like outgrown cage. Come, storms and cuts that shape and prune, reducing my unbalanced spread. The song birds still unfurl their tune from branches bare, or dry and dead, and leafless twigs can frame the moon. So I must stand in that cold breeze and let it strip the growth that’s past. The winter frost works change in trees, and rich soil forms where leaves were cast, so now I wait for buds and bees.