Tunes for a Monday Morning
On Animals and the Human Spirit


Light shines blue on golden dew
leaves reveal the morning breeze and
when there are no more tears to wash the pain
we must dance

Many Words for Brown

Umber, ochre, tawny, tan,
so many shifts and shades
of autumn fall around me,
a long brown sentence
punctuated by the silence
of a single black dog.

Amber, copper, auburn, rust,
the rustle of leaves,
taking leave of their branches,
twisting brown paths
of autumn’s old map,
read by a single black dog.

Sorrel, sienna, ginger, bronze,
swashes of color wash
over a landscape mural,
a master’s Diego painted
in a wind, using a single hair
from the tail of a black dog.

©2014 Jane Yolen, all rights reserved

Oh, so very wonderful!

Thank you, Kip!

"Every withered blade of grass and every dry weed as well as pine needle, reflects the light. The lately dark woods are open and light, the sun shines in upon the stems of trees which it has not shone on since spring...light is universally dispersed. We are greatly indebted to these transition seasons or states of the atmosphere, which show us thus phenomena that belong not to the summer or the winter of any climate. The brilliancy of the autumn is wonderful, this flashing brilliancy, as if the atmosphere were phosphoric."

Henry David Thoreau, 1851

Projecting ahead a few hours:


Light holds its breath
in monochromed silence;
dappled and striped
in silver and black.
This woodland
is owled and foxed
and moused with faint whispers,
while the moon makes cathedrals
Of trees and dark shadows
and fills up the nave
With those that are lost.
Now the wind choirs
the night
With twig-whispered anthems
and the bell
of the owl-call
Tolls out the hour.

(almost) wordless with wonder for the beauty of your corner of the world

Thanks for the photos and other poems; just wonderful. Here's my small contribution:

See how that last leaf,
alone on its bed of green,
holds the day’s light,
creates its own golden essence,
as if all life began here,
in this moment.

©2014 by Glenda Cotter.

Many thanks to you and Tilly!

Hi Terri

Wonderful photographs -- so reminiscent for me of the season progressing through its changing phases in New York State. It's so much different out here in the high desert of Southern California. This year Autumn came later, very late and I thought the Summer would never leave. So the transformation took place on a certain day when the winds brought in the scent of rain and some much longed for coolness. The day, itself, is personified in this poem about the season's sudden arrival and the emotional influence on all that interacts with its.

A Late Approach

The day keeps mostly still
corset-stiff with heat and laced
in high degrees. She has worn
this garment for months --- moving
in little wind and layers of glare.

The nights have lingered
in too much warmth - - causing her to turn
the hours restless and the leaf shrivel
on trees to rhythmic ticking.

How many seconds
before they pass, denied their right
to blush, flame and swirl
wanton in a lip-moist wind?

Her clock spell (cast upon them)
gives no answer, and she soon
discovers this -- Autumn
has just spared time for her

and has not forgotten
how to love. The season enters
so cool and damp, rain
breath-fallen on the hill. Its scent

pure and pined-for while the moon
glows like the match flame
that could light a candle;
and beckons a bird to sing
in its briar leaves at night.

Only at night - a lover's song
when Fall comes at first
to lull the heat and loosen
the breeze. When memories
disrobe in a darkness lengthened
to ease the sun, tender the heart.

My Best

Hi Glenda

Beautiful and prophetic in its own way. I love the idea of a single leaf reflecting that haloed sacredness of life, how each moment is significant, reflecting the greater whole of the season and the workings of nature.

Thank you for sharing,

Hi Stuart

This is exquisite! You capture the mystery and the ritual of an Autumn night with haunting language and imagery. I can picture this scene vividly and am drawn into those moonlit woods. The entire piece flows together with strength and fine structure -- so its hard to pick a favorite passage. But this one really stayed with me -

This woodland
is owled and foxed
and moused with faint whispers,
while the moon makes cathedrals
Of trees and dark shadows
and fills up the nave
With those that are lost.

Thank you for sharing

Hi Jane

What a brilliant, poetic lexicon of describing the "essence" of Autumnal brown. I love how you make the connecting character and force, that beloved, black dog. That adds a magical continuity to this poem that lays out the splendid colors of Autumn. The sounds in this piece as well as the visuals are also very engaging and a delight, especially when read out loud!

Much enjoyed,

Hi Kip

A lovely, pastoral with such an uplifting last line. Yes,
"we must dance", celebrate the season's fire and beauty!


Hi Alexandra

I love this quote by Thoreau and its vibrant description of this incredible season. Thank you so much for sharing it. It's a passage I haven't read by him and deeply appreciate its grace and vibrancy.


Wow--thanks Wendy and Terri. It's dark and cold and rainy here. I responded immediately to Terri's autumn.


Love the line with owled and foxed, because not only does it set the animals there, but "foxed" has book meanings too, as in a piece of print matter being "foxed" has autumnal tones to it, splatters and mold.



It's a medieval masque. Truly fine work. Thanks.

Signed "Wanton in a lip-moist wind,"


I'm afraid I am going to be the blotch amongst the beauty in your combox, because I can not come up with lovely words. But I do want to say that these pictures seem to capture, at least for me, the peace and the communion of the woods. I think of how, beneath that rich and heavy ground, the underside of the trees (or perhaps what the trees themselves consider their primary bodies) are singing away to each other ... and in the air above, there is peace like the long, gentle sighing-out of their decomposed words.

Hello Terri,
Thank you as always for your beautiful expressions, You are a gift in my life…

Here is my offering…

If I had my life to live over, I would start barefoot earlier in the spring and stay that way later in the fall. I would go to more dances. I would ride more merry-go-rounds. I would pick more daises.
Nadine Stair

Beautiful, Sarah. So many wonders from you all.

In the sixth image, I see a stairway. It leads up and to the right. Can you see it? Let's go!

Hi Edith,

Yes, I can see it and where it leads is further into the mysteries and imaginative ether of Autumn!! Indeed, let's climb it!


Thanks so much Jane
for taking the time to read and comment.
I deeply appreciate it and love the way you
signed off on this commentary.


Light, Timber and Green

Light, timber and green,
The history of leaves from
Budding to golden relics,
Like letters from a fairy knell.
If you can read it, blessings
Come. And magic.

So far away from where I am
And yet as near as my heart,
Enclosed with body sitting,
Fingers prancing, going
To the Moor, catching,
The Myths.

A good black dog,
A carpet of all kinds of
Green, pale to rich as velvet.
Where there dwell, we
In a different time, our
Inhaling smell of moss.
Holding hands in a dream
We share. Here. Now.

I was late again, due to family urgency. I am waiting for a call. And so many poems. I will have to read
them all over again, Jane, Wendy, Glenda, Kip and Stuart. Have I missed any-one. This is like
quilting. We thread through the greenery, a words leaf out on twigs and limbs. We are given a place,
a time, wonders.

Just a beautiful bit of sharing today: photos, poems, quotes, comments. Thank you, everyone!

and all the while they sang
this song for life
for love

I love the idea of the season 'Corset-stiff with heat and laced/in high degrees' You have a fine eye and ear for a phrase.

Jane, I love this and my husband does too and asked me to send his appreciation.

Yes, exactly. And have you noticed how second hand books and bookshops have an autumnal scent too? Sometimes when you open an old book, not only might it be 'foxed' but the pages often have the rich scent of leaf-litter, as though the trees the paper is made from still have their seasons.

Another thought...perhaps if we take the idea of paper made from trees still having seasons, then libraries should be seen as forests and bookshelves as woods and spinneys and coppices, depending on the size.

It's turning cold and rainy here too, and every day we lose more leaves. Winter is definitely approaching. Thank you for this palette full of color, to remind me of autumn's beauty when the woods turn winter's grey.

I love that quote.

This perfectly captures our woods at night. I can hear the owl-call from my studio, letting me know it's time to put down the pencil or paintbrush and head homeward.

This goes with the picture very beautifully. (I'm delighted that you chose that one to focus on.) Thank you, Glenda.

Thank you, thank you, thank you for returning me for a few blessed moments to the desert. Though I love the Devon woods, I deeply miss the desert and always will. I'm grateful to you for returning me to it with your words.

"...and in the air above, there is peace like the long, gentle sighing-out of their decomposed words"

That's poetry right there!

Your offering reminds me of prompts me to respond by way of my favorite George Eliot quote:

"It is never too late to be what you might have been."

I wish you many dances and merry-go-round rides in your life among the flowers.

Tilly wants to lead, as always...

Tilly is honored to be in your poem, Phyllis, among the gold and the "carpet of all kinds of Green." Thank you from us both!

Then in Stuart's library of the autumn woods, the owl is the librarian. The metaphor keeps extending!!!

Metaphors be with you all, friends.


And there we have the perfect L'Envoi.

Terri--I have said this before. Find a small publisher in Britain who wants to do The Tilly Poems: An Artist's Dog Who Inspired a Parcel of Poets. With your photos. One chapter or section per season.


It's a very *small* corner, the little woodland behind us, but Tilly and I love it dearly, and love prowling it in every season.

Hi Stuart

Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment on this piece. I am very glad you liked that phrase and it worked within the context of this poem.

Your thoughts are much appreciated!

Hi Terri

I am very happy this poem could take you back there, at least through imagery and imagination. The desert is a intricate and yet intimate place. IT has a way of haunting the soul and the mind. It stay with you even when you leave. Thank you so much for reading and commenting on my poem. I deeply appreciate it!!

My Best

Hi Phyllis

the title is wondrous and drew me right in -- followed by a magical poem. I love how you describe Tilly's presence in the poem and how we all can imbibe the magic of the moor and its diverse myths from afar, namely the power of
the heart and the mind. These lines convey that thought so well --

So far away from where I am
And yet as near as my heart,
Enclosed with body sitting,
Fingers prancing, going
To the Moor, catching,
The Myths.

Thank you for sharing this enchanting poem.

Hi Wendy. I feel we are dancing with our words. thank you

The Last Flourish

Farewell the sun,
Farewell the last of summer;
Throw off in shades of flame
The fading robes, so reckless
Now that light has faded.
Gales will strip us stark as crones
For winter's sleep
But not before the final flourish
- gypsy dance -
Around our home, in memory
Of what will be again.

© Lee McAulay 2014, all rights reserved (but shared with gratitude)

I wrote this for Marcia back shortly after we first got together...


I would like to be able to walk in the woods with you the way I walk when I'm by myself. I've never been able to say that to anyone, and yet so many things seem so different with you. Fresh, like a spring day.

When I take someone else to the woods, I feel as though I'm a guide, taking them to a place that is my home and yet so unfamiliar to many. The woods are my brother/ sister, a piece of my soul. When I go into the woods by myself, I disappear and they become me and I become them. We flow together as one. Other people could walk through me and not know that I was there. When I go there alone I feel as if we're dancing; we begin a dance together - a dance of life and harmony, a dance of great beauty and love. Yet, I feel when I go to the woods with someone else that if I were to begin this dance that I would disappear and they would find themselves alone in a place that was not familiar to them. So, at these times I do not dance.

What I would like with you, however, is to be able to dance together, the three of us, the woods and you and me so we might all join together in this undulation of time, of space.

This would be beauty as I see it.

Mike 16/4/95

Do you know "How I Go Into the Woods," the beautiful prose-poem by Mary Oliver (from Swans, 2010)?

It's reprinted online here:

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