Strange Fall by
(27 Stories)

Prompted By New Beginnings

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Strange Fall

Other years Autumn 


 First the poison oak leaves flame a brilliant red, 


the mountain maple blazes yellow.

Usually the thrumming cricket chorus thins

to a few hardy soloists

when the morning and evening’s chill 

signals winter’s shadow 

hiding around the slipping sunshine.

This year the talk of drought

and global warming

turns the tables on


from the invisible-air economy

and bank failures

to our own emotional

bankruptcies that undermine

our certainty of each other


We as two willow trees

gladly have bent over the chasm

of our values and perspectives

to weave our branches of love

for our children to gain

the choicest fruit of our experience

Now we pause in mid-stream

in the endlessly flowing river of our lives

to ascertain what we want

to gather, to harvest

what we want to release and let go of

as the pull to the

Ocean of no time

refuses to relinquish its grasp


This year

the walnut went yellow first

snowing leaves in golden

dry-wind circles.

The sunshine stayed long into November

We cried for our strength waning

while gazing at the hole in the

endless sky

where we

would have grown straight

if not for the

beautifully bent limbs

of our love


Profile photo of January Handl January Handl

Characterizations: moving


  1. Betsy Pfau says:

    How lovely your poetry is, January. I have missed your voice. Welcome back.

  2. I loved the impressionist nature of this thoughtful poem, January. Your brushstrokes of a New England fall vivid, even in black and white. I also appreciated how you transitioned from planet nature to honest and moving observations of a couple’s relationship and its connection to the outside world. Full circle. Lovely. Thanks!

  3. John Zussman says:

    The ending left me speechless, as you look wistfully—but without regret—at the lives you might have lived individually, had you not intertwined. Brava.

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