Autumn Heralds

by angeliska on September 24, 2012

The Oxblood Lilies are telling me it’s fall now – the autumnal equinox has crossed over us with candles lit, and the scent of burning cinnamon bark. I mean to have a Mabon feast for the Witches’ Thanksgiving, but it will have to wait until I am more sorted out, and until it’s cool enough here for a proper bonfire. This year I sit on the porch with my mug in the mornings and talk to my animals. It is strange to mark this turning on my own, to have no stalwart sweetheart to remark upon the red blooms to. Very strange indeed. Everything is different now, everything is irrevocably changed, but still the lilies spring up like clockwork in the fall. I keep having dreams and visions of blood and massacre, of creatures I love torn apart, red splashes on the earth, pieces of them strewn among the scarlet lilies. Terrible dreams. I am seeking to change where my mind goes – to realign my neural pathways and train my thoughts to follow better roads. It’s hard work. I’m glad this long, brutal summer is fading, but I fear another icy winter in this drafty old house. I’m stretching my arms up to the sky to beseech the weather wraiths for a long, golden autumn – full of fruit and all kinds of abundance.
My friend Del sent this to me recently:
“The first of the day lilies in my yard came up last night, and bloomed this morning. They are called ox-blood lilies. The appear overnight, as if by magic. They are not the ethereal white rain lilies I love, but full lipped and thick hipped blooms. A brown, August empty barren yard becomes rich with red blossom. They cannot be purchased in any store. They come up that first day of fall, when the light changes so subtly that most never notice. It means; comes cool weather; here comes sleep for the tepid green world, and grey wind  sends us all indoors to keep warm and make love. I love this red magic plant surprise. I always send pictures of them to good hearts, for a good year to come, and a good year spent.”

Rhodophiala bifida are heirloom bulbs, also called Hurricane Lilies, School House Lilies, or Fall Amaryllis can only be purchased through The Southern Bulb Company:
“Sometimes called the School House lily, these hardy plants frequently make appearances in older neighborhoods of Central Texas. Oxblood lily flower bulbs bloom with a vivid display of several entrancing flowers in the Fall. They are historic and, until now, are almost impossible to buy.”
Autumn heralds
O, Autumn heralds.
Crimson harbingers of autumn - the oxblood lilies are blooming again.
Crimson harbingers of cooler weather.
The garden is bloody with hurricane lilies.
The garden is bloody with them.
Scampi sniffing the first hurricane lilies of the season
Shrimp Scampi loves them too.
Split pomegranate, silver. It fell too soon from our tree.
Split pomegranate, silver. It fell too soon from the tree. It’s soon harvest-time, though.
I’ve found poetry to be a great consolation and comfort again – not in the maudlin, clutching way I hunted pertinent phrases and passages down in my youth, but almost as prayers, paeans, mantras. Like this one:
The time will come 
with elation 

you will greet yourself arriving 

at your own door, in your own mirror 

and each will smile at the other’s welcome,
and say, sit here. Eat. 

You will love again the stranger who was your self.

Give wine. Give bread.
Give back your heart 
to itself,
to the stranger who has loved you
all your life, whom you ignored 
for another,
who knows you by heart.

Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,
the photographs, the desperate notes,

peel your own image from the mirror. 

Sit. Feast on your life.

– Love After Love
Derek Walcott
(thanks to Coyopa for this!)
Beauty berry - goblin fruit.
Beauty berry – goblin fruit. They look so delicious, but I think they are not for humans to feast on, alas.
Sisters, I prescribe you a daily reading of this poem in Spanish and English to yourself as you stand naked before a mirror.
I have also prescribed this same remedy to myself.

I have named you queen.

There are taller than you, taller.

There are purer than you, purer.

There are lovelier than you, lovelier.

But you are the queen.

When you go through the streets

No one recognizes you.

No one sees your crystal crown, no one looks

At the carpet of red gold

That you tread as you pass,

The nonexistent carpet.

And when you appear

All the rivers sound

In my body, bells

Shake the sky,

And a hymn fills the world.

Only you and I,

Only you and I, my love,

Listen to me.
Yo te he nombrado reina.

Hay más altas que tú, más altas. 

Hay más puras que tú, más puras. 

Hay más bellas que tú, hay más bellas. 

Pero tú eres la reina. 

Cuando vas por las calles 
nadie te reconoce. 

Nadie ve tu corona de cristal,
nadie mira 
la alfombra de oro rojo 
que pisas donde pasas, 

la alfombra que no existe. 

Y cuando asomas 
suenan todos los ríos 
en mi cuerpo,
el cielo las campanas, 

y un himno llena el mundo. 

Sólo tú y yo, 

sólo tú y yo,
amor mío, 
lo escuchamos. 

– La Reina / The Queen
by Pablo Neruda
The rain lilies have been blooming constantly – a good omen for this autumn. They make me feel as if, contrary to how things feel right now, that I could find a way to believe in or hope for that last line to be true. I really do want to think so.
How should I not be glad to contemplate 

the clouds clearing beyond the dormer window 

and a high tide reflected on the ceiling?

There will be dying, there will be dying,

but there is no need to go into that. 

The poems flow from the hand unbidden

and the hidden source is the watchful heart. 

The sun rises in spite of everything 

and the far cities are beautiful and bright.

I lie here in a riot of sunlight 

watching the day break and the clouds flying.

Everything is going to be all right.

Everything is Going to Be All Right
– Derek Mahon
Here’s are some songs by Emmanuelle Parrenin that tell me the same:

Ce Matin À Frèmontel (Maison Rose, 1977)

Thibault Et L’arbre D’or
More from days of yore:


Here is another poem for you, dearest heart:
“Whatever it was, the image that stopped you, the one on which you
came to grief, projecting it over & over on empty walls.
Now to give up the temptations of the projector; to see instead the
web of cracks filtering across the plaster.
To read there the map of the future, the roads radiating from the
initial split, the filaments thrown out from that impasse.
To reread the instructions on your palm; to find there how the
lifeline, broken, keeps its direction.
To read the etched rays of the bullet-hole left years ago in the
glass; to know in every distortion of the light what fracture is.
To put the prism in your pocket, the thin glass lens, the map
of the inner city, the little book with gridded pages.
To pull yourself up by your own roots; to eat the last meal in
your old neighborhood.” – Adrienne Rich

by Patience on September 26, 2012 at 8:06 pm. Reply #

i have been feeling elated, stimulated, lost and lonely…longing for more green and also for texas skies. thank you for this lovely reminder. i am very excited to see autumn colored dogwoods and maples and all of the lovely trees turning the colors that i have not seen in 12 years.

by jennifer anne godsey on October 3, 2012 at 5:46 pm. Reply #

Thank you for this, Paciencia… I love you. It was such a joy to see your beautiful face again! Thinking of you on your journey, dearie…

by Angeliska on October 4, 2012 at 12:07 am. Reply #

Darling JAG,
I miss you so! Texas misses you, too. Come back anytime, lovely. You are always welcome at my abode. I hope you’ll take pictures of the fall things you see… I’m enjoying the writings and photos you posted…

by Angeliska on October 4, 2012 at 12:11 am. Reply #

Mmm, I am going through a similar transition in my relationship to poetry, I know exactly what you mean about the clutching maudlin thing. Lately I really love Marge Piercy and Mary Oliver in a way that would have been impossible when I was a snotty impatient teenager.

by Sophie on October 9, 2012 at 10:48 pm. Reply #

Also, where the hell was that Dark Dark Dark album at those times when I was getting my heart torn up? So, so beautiful.
Also, do you do Skype tarot sessions?
I’m doing so well, Angel, so much better than I expected I would at this point in my life. If you find yourself in the Bay Area in the next 5 months or so, please please let me know.

by Sophie on October 9, 2012 at 10:54 pm. Reply #

Wild Geese
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting —
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.
~ Mary Oliver ~

by Sophie on October 9, 2012 at 10:56 pm. Reply #

My pleasure.
I remember hearing that poem for the first time, read by David Whyte on his very fine CD ‘The Poetry of Self-Compassion’ and it felt like someone had finally spoken an unspeakable truth, an impossible articulation of reality and Self. It seems so simple now, but at the time, it was like lightning and honey. The possibility of coming home to yourself, being loved like that. What a thought…
Hang in there. All the curious madnesses have their own story -keep navigating towards that soul-truth and wonder and the pivot of innocence and experience. Walk that Black Mountain River of Autumn. Everything *is* going to be all right.

by Coyopa on October 15, 2012 at 1:51 pm. Reply #

Dear Tom,
Thank you so much for your kind words. Your writing as well, has also been a salve for me lately… It’s funny, I’m writing about climbing Black Mountain right now. It’s a long, twisty journey… Trying to believe that there will be sunlit glades up ahead.

by Angeliska on October 15, 2012 at 7:44 pm. Reply #

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