Autumn Poem by Robert Klein Engler


A swan song of summer and chrysanthemums proceeds.
Each day the courtyard trees grow more red and orange.
What starts as a small pain takes over like barbarians.
Smoke on the horizon moves to smoke before the door.

So much is given away to the soft and cloudy light.
Maples give away the red passports of their passage,
and elms toss their gold coins to the underworld.
A boy reaches for his lost father’s hand this way.

Old men need a matter to move them in the morning.
Their autumn ritual of incense before crossing over
would pull them into shadows were it not for love.
Yet, love, too, teeters like a leaf and then lets go.

Who does not worry when the leaves fall, knowing it
happens always and everywhere? The nothingness will
never fill–a knife of shadows cuts across the lawn,
then pulls our words to speech come one last time.

The way is crackling under foot with scattered leaves.
Weep, if you must, for the long reach gone short.
Some carry an integrity of soul across the closing light,
even if they fall forgotten into the drag of night.

Robert Klein Engler lives in Chicago and New Orleans. Born on the southwest side of Chicago, Robert taught many years at the City Colleges of Chicago. After resolving a Chicago Commission on Human Relations complaint against the City Colleges, which he wrote about in his book A WINTER OF WORDS, Robert went on to become an adjunct professor at Roosevelt University. Robert holds degrees from the University of Illinois at Urbana and the University of Chicago Divinity School. He has received 2 Illinois Arts Council awards for his poetry. Just google his name or click the links below to find his writing on the Internet.