A Golden Autumn Silence
Once upon a stormy time,
a long, long time ago,
the autumn leaves came crashing down
in half a foot of snow.
"Sparking wires," said the scanner,
"sparking wires, wires down.
Stop reporting one by one,
report it town by town."
I'm sure talk got more lively, but
that's when mine went down.
Gasoline won't run the siren,
the pagers worked just fine.
Firemen were needed everywhere,
at dawn, I got back mine.
When the sun came out next morning,
it melted all the snow.
That was sure a blessing:
just chop up trees, and go!
When everyone needs water,
firemen don't need snow.
And then the house got quiet.
No clicks, no whines, no drone.
And then the world got quiet.
The chain saws buzzed alone.
I wanted to write how fine it was.
My typer did not moan.
I have a treadle sewing machine,
a treadle iron — lingers
And seams in polyester
just won't yield to fingers.
At last, one day, a NiMo truck
went by at walking speed
I clapped my hands —
if they hunt for breaks
there can't be much we need
It must be soon, they must be near
the end of their attack,
And sure enough, in two more hours,
sweet cacophony was back.
Beeson Banner: 10 October 1992
Dave left the window in front of
his radio open while he was
operating. Fred fell out, and later
on Frieda jumped out on purpose.
Each jumped back in before I could
get the door open. I shut the
At the meeting before last, one
of the poets asked whether we'd mind
if he brought in an erotic poem.
Knowing this guy gets steamy when
describing a muskmelon, we
nonetheless agreed. Perhaps
inspired by the prospect, everyone
else brought poems that were weird;
I myself forgot that I'd intended to
read from Orson Scott Card's essay
on how to use criticism, and gave a
dramatic presentation of "Your
exclamation points! Alas and Alack!
Convince me! That -- you! are
sitting on a tack." (at least I was
We had a new member. It will be
interesting to see whether she comes
I came home and wrote an erotic
free verse of the now-we-pull-the-
shade school; someday when they have
forgotten this episode, I'll take it
in and see whether anybody gets it.
Then as I was drifting off to
sleep, I wrote a poem just to be
writing a poem; I think it's the
first time I ever thought of writing
a poem first and picked a subject
The rhyme suggested the subject.
Casting about to tell a story, I
began, "Once upon a time, a long,
long, time ago..." and, since it
wasn't long after the fifth
anniversary of the October fourth
storm, the line "the autumn leaves
came crashing down in umpteen feet
of snow" suggested itself. So I had
to get out of bed and write it. I
intended the usual camaraderie stuff
about the impromptu pitch-in dinner
etc., but it turned out to be about
how wonderfully quiet it is when the
lights are out.