On the Shortest Days

At almost four in the afternoon, the
wind picks up and sifts through the golden woods.

The tree trunks bronze and redden, branches
on fire in the heavy sky that flickers

with the disappearing sun. I wonder
what I owe the fading day, why I keep

my place at this dark desk by the window
measuring the force of the wind, gauging

how long a certain cloud will hold that pink
edge that even now has slipped into gray?

Quickly the lights are appearing, a lamp
in every window and nests of stars

on the rooftops. Ladders lean against the hills
and people climb, rung by rung, into the night.

-- by Joyce Sutphen


  1. Unbelievable poetry. Thanks for posting this! Loved its meter, tone, and the measured words. Wonderful.

    1. Bill, Joyce is a wonderful poet and person. I highly recommend her work!

  2. Absolutely beautiful. And for once, I'm going to recommend my blog -- not so much for the writing, although I was pleased with that, but more for the photos. I'm a proud possesor of a new Canon Rebel T6s, and it already has transformed the way I see the world. Autumn is going to be even more delightful this year, as I begin roaming around to see it in a new way.

    Best to you, and all. I hear it's cooling there. We've been forecast too-much-rain-to-be-out-and-about this weekend, so I have a new post to work on, a camera manual to explore, and my old, battered copy of Woolf's "The Waves" to plunge back into.

    1. Linda, recommend away! I still visit your blog, but I just don't get a chance to comment like I wish I could. Isn't it amazing what a difference a good camera makes? I have that same model. After I borrowed one for a while, there was no going back for me. It helped me see the world more clearly.

      We gratefully have another 70' day today. What an autumn! It's been the best one we've had in years. Happy reading.

  3. Emily:

    Thank you for posting this warmly inviting poem by Joyce Sutphen. I now want to read more of her work. I especially relate to: "gauging how long a certain cloud will hold that pink edge..." I am a life long cloud watcher, and if there is a hint of color in the evening sky from our library window, I hurry outside to observe it and absorb it. Enjoy our remaining autumn days.
    ~Warmly, Richard

    1. I love watching clouds, also, Richard. Like many things, I find they are a good metaphor for life. Happy autumn to you, too.


Post a Comment

Popular Posts