Where I live – there’s heresy in trees,

An orange apostasy amid the green denominations.

At first it’s just a single branch

In some dank corner of the lowlands –

A nickering doubt in the clicking of crickets

That gets a nod from the goldenrod,

A pang of white-haired dread in a dark night’s frost –

And suddenly a failure of the faith in the eternal power of Summer

Bursts forth among the congregation of the Leaves.

Is this cold October wind the Grand Inquisitor,

Keening his charges? – ” Renegade, recant ” he gusts, and

With ” Blasphemy “, shushes voices of dissent

And bears down upon the forests from thin ascetic clouds.

And the trees – they are divided.

The pious pines keep their green habits

Telling nervous rosaries on the round brown cones,

Looking down demurely, shaking their cowled heads

In shame and fear and secret horrified delight,

While the others lift their hands to heaven –

Half the woods afire with licks of flame,

Orange, yellow, red – copper purple, even –

Beseeching beeches, moaning oaks,

Begging birches bilious with fear,

Bark like flagellated skin,

The quiet sumac in a sudden glory of Transfiguration

Martyred maples – all rooted to the stake

All given to the Holy Fire.

At last and all too soon the flames die out,

And with a healing cry of rain

The black-clad char, November storm

Tears the tatters from the ashen trees

To leave a world of winter silence.

Only the pines risk a whispered rush of prayer

As they await – with perfect faith

But no proof – the rekindling miracle of spring.

And do you stand with those

Who keep their color green, who stay the course,

Who stand and wait the winter out?

Or will you join the ones who flame,

So brief, so bright, so unexpected

And confounding – but who must die,

Numb and having left the world unchanged

But for a carpet of brown husks

Pressed into the soil of another year?

— Tom Myers