21 Sep 2023 | Glory | 0 comments

Mars burns bright and close this October:

I watch it through the window, as I lie, too-awake, in the dark.

Drawn-in under covers as the cold bites,

I shrink, foetal-shaped but old-fleshed, frail.


I am autumnal:

dry-leaved, mud-under-foot, dark-dayed, almost-over;

close to death: she skirts me with her dark cloak,

but turns to trick-or-treat some other where.


I fight this self.

Autumn is true but I can burn,

can light a forest or a sunrise sky;

I can bear fruit,

can bring the fire-leaved apples-and-acorn harvest home.

I can bring promise, even to myself.


Let us; remember, as autumn brings field and tree to bear,

we may bear too;

Let us look to new harvests if the old is done,

for the snarling savagery of cold winter days,

the snow, so quietly quenching autumn’s flame,

can never put out the blood bought resurrection root the Father

has planted in us,

new every morning.


Julie S. Sharp (1958-2023), Autumnal



Notes from the Compiler

Written by an English teacher working and living in London. It was sent to her godfather in a letter written at Christmas 2022. Julie died suddenly in the Close of Norwich Cathedral after attending a concert there. She was the elder of three sisters brought up in an evangelical family and her faith was central to all she was. At her funeral John Donne's poem, 'A hymn to God, my God, in my sickness' was read. See it here as 'God's Music: Now and Then', in this anthology.


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