There, that shift to autumn sounds:
ducks laughing at us, keeping their cool
as we traipse across the misty park
to embark on the new term at school.
Smells of leather satchels,
new jotters, erasers not used yet,
blue Quink smells like old inkwells,
no red in the margins so far; nothing to regret.
Drawing lines for the timetable
I make my first error.
Though I try my best to be neat, I am incapable.
That sets the standard for the year.
And I pretend, pretend, pretend
that break time is all right, that lunchtime
is just fine. Can’t wait until they end
and structure is resumed. I long for home time!
I make believe pine cones I collect are hedgehog friends
hibernating in a box under my bed.
I deflect difficulties with wild imagination and
kick my way through the colourful dead
leaves that lie peppery beside the dam,
on every path,
like illuminated pages stained in the aftermath
of finite sunshine.
I know a secret. That everything dies.
I know a secret. That change is all around.
There is that shift. Laughter pools. Our best defiles.
I know the secret far too young. Leaf, mould and mound.