Aldwych Autumn

by
RG Liberty



 

High clouds gleam and shimmer in the bright September sun,
Reflecting stored summer warmth down onto the slowly coloring landscape
Of the northern hills and the lowland dales.
The ubiquitous wind wrests its share from the grasses and trees
As it strides across the face of the brilliant day, gathering its loose treasure.
A soaring Peregrine shrieks dominance in the mouth of the wind as it streaks through its blustering body,
Effortlessly cutting a path deep into the solidly swirling eddies and thickly sweeping contrails
Exalting in its mastery of the air and announcing its exhilaration to the reaches below.
Rising and soaring, veering and swerving; it owns the atmosphere
It is the sky,
It is the wind,
It is the world around its sleek, brown, feathery body.
It dives steeply toward a mass of dark trees in a concave between immense hills.
It dives and gains speed and cries, piercing, as it streaks, laser-like into the gathering shadows below.
The wind takes up counterpoint to the Falcon's proprietary proclamation
And the Peregrine screams into the roar of the wind . . .

As it slams into an invisible barrier and crumples, squawking
And is taken, broken, spinning, crying,
To the rancorous, black forest below.
It falls, dead, onto the filthy, loamy soil of Aldwych Wood
And is absorbed.
For even the sky above Aldwych is intolerant of natural life.

Outside the noisome umbra of Aldwych Wood,
The bright September day falls silent in acknowledgment of another loss.
The wind quiets and shifts course away
From the nearly-forgotten blotch on the face of the world
That is to be avoided beyond all other consideration
- From the deeps of Aldwych Wood.


It is autumn on the rest of the land.
Colors holding dominion over the broad expanses of the northern marches,
Rioting in splendor, bestowing beauty and bounty and beneficence.
For Aldwych Wood, it is a welcome time of death
When the rest of the world, once again, comes into step with
The Wood's natural rhythm, its natural inclination,
Its hold over life.

In the evening hours, the silence of the sleeping frogs is a deafening refrain to the wailing of the Hunting wind,
The screams of the Traveling wind.
A fox crouches in the black deeps, and hugs the sere grasses of the fen
In the face of Autumn's cold creep.
A wolf stiffens and halts, quivering, to taste its encroaching doom
Night birds bury their song deep in frightened throats at the encompassing threat of Aldwych -
The dank breath of Aldwych Wood.

The cold moon flows over the dead branches of the Wood
Bleeding light into its secrets,
Giving truth to the fears it holds for every living, healthy thing it has yet to corrupt.
The inevitable confluence of life and its utter dissolution
In the bowels of this fetid place is the only natural law.
The wrenching and tearing and crushing and rending
Of every whole and wholesome thing that
Stumbles across its borders,
Is the only reality
Tolerated within the boundaries
Of Aldwych Wood.
As it shifts and shambles with the Lurching wind,
The Hunting Wind,
The Autumn Wind,
A dark shadow,
Across the broad expanse of the northern marches,
Rolling cold death and corruption,
Allowing dank traces of the lives it swallows -
Only ghosts wailing at its approach,
Only silence at its passing,
It feeds.
But can never be filled.

2002
RG Liberty