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    Lauren Tilden, Late Autumn, detail

    Two Sonnets

    Sally Thomas

    September 29, 2020
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    • Jeremiah Johnson

      I teach at the University of North Georgia and I curate a "Wall of Sonnets" on the English Hall on a weekly basis - I love the "Michaelmas" poem and am going to stick that one up if it's okay. Obviously, you bring in hints of Hopkins with "dapple," "charged," etc. That, and I love the "a doe and half-grown fawn" line. If I may be so bold, I thought I'd send along an Autumn sonnet of my own ("Teddy" is my son): The Apple Tree Where Autumn apples lay under this tree, Imperfect, shriveled, hole-specked, ruddily, Which Teddy stomped and trampled joyously, He and a friend in jocund company – Between which I had need to referee When trampling turned to apple-tossing spree, Now Winter air presents a milder scene, The apple tree’s cold branches, stark and lean, The stubby nubs of twigs robbed of their preen, Like grape-stem bunches that have been picked clean, While Teddy searches round the base in vain And strokes the shivery trunk, minus its train. So nature, whether warmly rouged or plain, Submits its varied, seasonal refrain.

    In the Fullness of Time

    Time, the hermit thinks, is always full.
    Unlike the moon, it does not wax and wane,
    But incubates the future endlessly.
    It fares forth daily, with its pregnant waddle,
    Plods the same road, points the same direction,
    Never arrives or labors, or else incessantly
    Arrives, every second is giving birth.
    The hermit wonders how to understand
    This strange phrase from the Gospel writer’s hand.
    He thinks: Does time itself in time bring forth
    Eternity, to intervene in time? –
    His head hurts now. The candle’s burning low
    And won’t restore itself. Outside, new snow
    Shines. The moon, unveiled, is full in time.

    Lauren Tilden, Late Autumn, detail

    Lauren Tilden, Late Autumn
    Image courtesy of Lauren Tilden

    Michaelmas

    These autumn afternoons, black thundershowers
    Break above the ridge, to rinse the dust
    From the slanting light. The last pale tattered coneflowers
    Mourn at the hermit’s door. Before first frost,
    The rain makes everything intense with life.
    Today he sees a doe and half-grown fawn
    Browsing his ruined garden. In one brief
    Glimpse the world holds still. They dapple and darken
    On his vision, are more present to him than his skin.
    His heart’s lost to them. Charged, electric,
    The world’s more real than human minds imagine.
    Its pure unseen intelligences shock
    Him into knowing more than he can know.
    The deer depart. He does not see them go.

    Contributed By Sally Thomas Sally Thomas

    Sally Thomas is a poet, fiction writer, essayist, and teacher.

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