Serenade of an October Twilight

It seems a somnolence settles over this October land, especially at twilight.  Especially in my heart as I sit on a hillside and taste the cool tang of the evening breeze on my tongue.  There seems to be a reverence in the very air of this autumn with the hills all hushed and falling silent under the glow of the setting sun.

The hills are flocked with frozen flames.  The sugar maples and the birch trees still have their dying leaves painted by the cosmetologist’s brush and the oaks and hickories, too, sport the flaring brass of their dying leaves, all subtle variations in a master color scheme.

There is a woody tang to the vagrant zephyrs that soar down from the high bluffs and riffle through the trees, dislodging leaves that have already turned to rust, blowing their skeletons across the forest floor as if whimsy was a component of Nature’s nature.

Oh, I hear the music of October in those icy gusts of wind blowing in from the far north.  After all, this is the month of my birth and I must have heard October’s call while I was nestled in my mother’s womb.  I hear it now, every October, and my veins tingle with excitement, my blood energized by October’s intoxicating oxygen.

In these Ozarks woods, with dusk hovering like a shadow just below the rim of the high bluffs, the sun only the memory of our closest star ablaze with jaundiced light, I feel part of everything on earth and in the endless universe. Leaves rattle like worn-out castanets and some that are fallen, skitter across the pine needles and the buried acorns, like wandering minstrels, the husky rasp of their drab hides like the scrape of a drummer’s wiry brushes on the snare drum.  Oh yes, there is music here and it delves into my heart like a Chopin nocturne with soaring melodies that fall and collapse into somber crystalline pools of purest pond water.

I think about all the languages of earth, those of the so-called lesser animals and those of human speech.  I think about writing and its connection to seasons and melodies.  I have tried to write poems with Chopin’s falling lines and failed except when writing in a nearly impossible form for English, Latin hexameter, a most difficult meter for any language except classical Latin.  And, that Latin was never spoken.  It was always a written language, a dead language.

And, I think about those writers who think their words are engraved in stone.  Well, their words fall by the wayside under the slash of the editor’s pen.  The only way words can be written in stone is for them to be set to music.  And, there is, of course, music in language and that is a goal I try to reach.  Let the consonants and vowels bend and sway, rise and fall like one of Shubert’s,

Brahms’s, Beethoven’s or Mozart’s melodies.

Let the October breezes flow through the sentences and let the twilight drip tonal wine on every syllable. Let there be music in language as once there was and let the twilight play out the tune on dark harps in some sylvan glade while I listen.  As I’m listening now, pressed against the maternal busom of an October twilight when the light shifts and shadows melt and stretch into images of another world, one not very far away.

The haunting words Jory Sherman can be found in his book. Click here for  Hills of Eden.


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