Autumn Cancer

(i.m. Liz Suttle)

Each day, the autumn, eating a little further
into the bone.

A leaf falls on a stiller day, coloured a richer brown,
more glowing, more holding, like glazed bread or old apples;

and the lap of the lake gone smaller, a nibbling as of fishes
at feet in tidal pools. The heron stands longer.

Shoals of leaves float further on the water,
the low sun pulses, the light shafts pick more delicately

over woodland and the limbs of ash grown sensuous,
shapely, as a woman from a bath;

while on the alders, yellow, and here and there,
a round leaf hangs, spent coin in the stillness.

I have never known so exactly
this abacus of days. This withdrawal. This closing out.

Kerry Hardie

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