Beauty Resists

So unexpected to come upon it
as we followed the swerving
waxwings, their commotion
in the air our umbrellas curtained:

the gold gingko
—double trunk rising
from its yellow leavings—
paving the sidewalk
with real luster,
cement softer under the mash
of ochre leaves along the gutters.
Shine of rain over everything.

In the park, vine maples hold on
to some crimson tatters
above the banks where the last salmon
fight their way home
in the stream bed
the neighbors made good again.

In these broken days—
half the nation whipsawed in grief
at what we will become—the sum
of Autumn’s rubric is
light and color in the trees,
flash of silver fins in the creek,

and late bees in the penstemon
still gathering pollen for the hive.




Alicia HokansonAlicia Hokanson, retired from 40 years of teaching, now devotes her time to reading, writing, and political activism in Seattle and on Waldron Island, Washington. Her first collection of poems, Mapping the Distance, was selected by Carolyn Kizer for the King County Arts Commission publication prize. Two chapbooks from Brooding Heron Press are Insistent in the Skin and Phosphorous. She was named “River of Words” Poetry Teacher of the Year in 2003.

Header photo of gingko leaves on ground by auntmasako, courtesy Pixabay.

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3 Responses

  1. KJ Miller

    What a welcome relief this poem brings. Thanks.

  2. Ed Harkness

    What a marvelous poem! The darkness we now face is temporary. Beauty lives on, and if we regard it with the reverence granted by Alicia Hokanson’s poem, so will the naturally beautiful natural world.

  3. John Newsom

    I really enjoyed your evocation of fall, and the implication that the seasons move on regardless of our own hapless human hijinks. And thanks for the word penstemon!

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