I’ve been wanting for years to capture the way I feel when I look at autumn foliage, and I’ve finally approached it with an old rhyme form: terza rima. Dante used it to write The Divine Comedy, and much latter, Percy Bysshe Shelley used it to write his “Ode to the West Wind.” Not that I place my poetry in a class with theirs by any means. I mention it only to establish the long pedigree of the form.
While the poem may be written in any meter, iambic pentameter is preferred in English, and the rhyme scheme is: a-b-a, b-c-b, c-d-c, d-e-d, e-e. There is something very pleasurable about making one’s verse fit a pattern.
Of all the seasons, Autumn is the one
That most persuades me there must be a God
Whose works grow prayerful when their working’s done.
The roads are flanked by boughs of goldenrod,
The Summer’s warmth replaced by nights of chill,
And seed and fruits are fallen to the sod.
The urgent push to procreate is still.
Impending Winter’s dormancy will reign,
But trees have one more duty they fulfill.
The Spring’s new birth, the Summer’s work, sustain
The species; yet for Autumn’s final days,
Without the possibility of gain,
In orange and red they set themselves ablaze
In silent, solemn, joyful songs of praise.