Looking at a Hard Frost

Summer fades to Autumn’s leaves gay
Pulled from branches by chill wind’s play
Gusts push and pull leaves heaven tossed
Are pulled to ground by icy frost

Jagged pieces fall from trees high
Swirl in breezes through a blue sky
Painted in patterns ice embossed
Are pulled to ground by icy frost

In brilliant colors trees once clad
With branches naked, brown and sad
Cold days and nights green clothes are lost
Are pulled to ground by icy frost

Warmth gives way to a creeping chill
With northern winds that bear ill will
Oak, elm and pear leaves pay the cost
Are pulled to ground by icy frost

The walnut trees started losing their leaves in August. They started dropping their walnuts in September. All the other trees were hanging onto their leaves. The leaf pickup schedule was announced and yet most of the trees still had most of the leaves. This is becoming the norm. The neighborhood has a high proportion of oak trees and a fair number of Bradford pear trees that don’t drop their leaves until well into November. It isn’t unusual for families to rake leaves on Thanksgiving weekend since the last leaf pick up is scheduled for the Monday after the holiday. The forecast is for a hard frost this weekend and we all have our fingers crossed (for frost and not snow!) and our rakes ready.

The above poem is a kyrielle. This form consists of 4 stanzas of 4 lines with a syllable count of 8 per line and a rhyme scheme of: a/a/b/B, c/c/b/B, d/d/b/B, e/e/b/B where the line designated by a capital B is a repeated refrain.

38 thoughts on “Looking at a Hard Frost

  1. The tree just outside of my door is gorgeously golden right now. I have taken pictures, and am thrilled to have something so near to my home looking so vibrant and beautiful. It should be bare by Thanksgiving, and the landscape crew will remove the debris for my complex. A relief for me, since I am too old and unfit for racking.

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    1. Dodi you ARE lucky! When we moved in there were gorgeous maples in our yard and in the neighbor’s yard. A maple tree fungus killed them all. Now we only have trees that don’t have fall colors. The walnut turns a sickly beige and then brown, the oaks just go a dark brown, the few surviving red maples go a darker shade of blech. And we are raking today and tomorrow. All the leaves from everyone else’s trees blow into our yard and seem not to want to leave!

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  2. What a beautiful poem, Valerie. The leaves fall with the temperatures and I’m trying to prepare for the cool. We have relatively mild winters compared to some parts of the country; yet, have our frigid times, too. Have a wonderful Monday and week!

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    1. I’m so happy you enjoyed this poem! We have had the space heaters out and although we run them for a little while just before bed, we don’t need them all night… but that time is coming! I hope you have a delightful week and can find some hidden joy!

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  3. Yesterday my husband asked if we were supposed to be watering the tree in front of our house…he was worried it was dead because the leaves have all fallen off, while every other tree in the neighborhood still has leaves.
    I never really noticed that fall happens at different times for different tree species!

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    1. Hehe! Yes. Some trees are really uninhibited – as soon as it starts to get a little colder they toss off all their leaves and stand naked for the whole world to see – others are much more modest and hold onto their leaves for as long as possible!!

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    1. After the leaf pickup is over we have to bag them in a biodegradable paper bag to be hauled away too. It is much more difficult and expensive. I wish we had a green barrel!

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  4. This is a beautiful poem. Most of our leaves are gone — since the first hard frost that’s been the norm every night. For a while they were predicting 12 F but now it’s back up to 25 F. I guess we take what we get!

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    1. And the weather here is so changeable – we’ll all have sinus infections shortly! We had temps in the 20a over night and now for the rest of the week it is a high in the 60s with only mid 40s at night. Of course the weekend is supposed to be colder… I’ll take the moderate temps for as long as I can. The snow is coming without a doubt!

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        1. We’ve had rain and more rain. I’m just hoping it stays warm enough that it doesn’t become snow! (I know you and Bear are hoping for the white stuff) I’d love 70F if only it wasn’t followed by a sudden drop in temps – that plays havoc with my sinuses!

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            1. Living in Indiana guarantees sinus issues… I’ll have to go buy another bottle of Ibuprofen to get through this fall! My brain works better when I don’t have a throbbing sinus headache!

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  5. Whoa, another seemingly complicated poem Val, which you made it look so easy to write, as always…

    I love this..especially because it gives me the first hand description of your weather in there…i live in a tropical country so we only have 2 seasons: rainy season and summer.

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    1. Many thanks Mich! I’m very happy that this one was both interesting and gave you a peek into the seasonal changes happening here. There are times when living in a tropical area is very appealing!!

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  6. Thank you for sharing your poetry and the forms. I find the forms challenging and the mechanics interesting. I’m unfamiliar with the last two and would like to try kyrielle. I mostly write free verse. I tried writing an autumn poem, but couldn’t get past the cliches. Instead I wrote a poem about daylight savings time. Do you have a favorite poetry writing book to recommend? Thanks again

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    1. Yes, that is how our walnut tree is usually. Although it started to lose leaves in August, it still has lots of leaves. And this year is a bumper crop of walnuts. Some are very big! One hit the roof and it made a very loud thump!

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    1. I’m so happy you enjoyed this poem! We were doing the yo-yo temps a couple weeks ago. Now we’ve got snow on top of leaves. It was a mad scramble to rake but sadly we couldn’t out rake the snow… The leaf pick-up crews came by today but there wasn’t much for them to suck up!

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  7. We are just now seeing most trees shed their leaves, as a mild November starts to get the calendar’s hint, and drop into the 60s during the day. We had one hard frost, on October, then things warmed back up for a few weeks.

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    1. We’ve had snow and they picked up leaves today and we are scheduled to have another pick up tomorrow. The last one will be the Monday/Tuesday after Thanksgiving so there will be a flurry of raking! Yesterday my neighbor from Guatemala had a rake and was trying to knock down some of the reluctant leaves on her maple tree!

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