Olyver Currant: November by G.M. Palmer

Strange this time of year, at once old and new,
changes wrought by weeping and by searching
through my thoughts that had been locked away
are the same changes in the air and leaves
of early November. Soon, Thanksgiving
will come with all its misgivings and times
of joy and thanks. My family expects
me to be with them, of course; I have not
spoken much to them this year, or even
seen many of them. I have been busy
blindly pretending that I did not change
and lost in the admission of the truth.

Like the changing of the seasons, the truth
was something I always knew that I knew
but would not articulate, my busy
brain, confounding itself with dreams, even
pretended that it did not know, could not
think, it was possible for me to change;
I was the same before you and away
from you, but it was all endless searching
for lies to blanket truths like one expects
a nurse to close ones eyes after giving
them their last injection as their soul leaves
and they learn about change, and the end times.

These times are indeed strange and weary times,
only days after admitting the truth
to myself I am one big misgiving
and I am sure that everyone expects
me to be jovial; they will be searching
my words and motions like a seer’s tea leaves
looking for patterns in either busy
or staid repetitions. They will see new
aspects of me, marks of being away.
These things they will have invented or not,
seeing me as they want to see. Even
my family will swear they see a change.

 

 

That is what I’ve feared, my change is your change
and you have changed already many times,
leaving me bound in a Gordian knot,
the only escape is to cut away
at the middle, past the old to the new,
rending me in two. I’m not sure even
this violence would work. I have been giving
myself comfort in the absence of truth,
wrapped warm in rough ropes and being busy
with a pointless and unending searching,
futile as the grasshopper who expects
the ants to feed him as the Summer leaves

and ushers in the changing of the leaves
and as the leaves change, the ants’ faces change
and become mockings at the poor searching
of the grasshopper for a meal. Busy
glutton ants stuffing themselves with the truth
and glee of torture as each one expects
the wretched bug to die but he will not,
he can play and dance and sing. In cold times,
his antics warm the hearts of those giving
him shelter and charity. He comes new
and strong in the Spring to fiddle away
at those ants who thought they would get even

by eating his remains. But the even
chill of Autumn rustles now through the leaves
and the coldness is surprising and new
and the grasshopper does not know giving
or charity, he only knows the times
that he sang for the ants they turned away
in silence. He only knows that searching
for food is his only hope in the change
of November and that his life is not
sustainable on only laughter. Truth,
for him, is cold and ugly. The busy
ants look out on him and each one expects

 

 

him to fail and to die, each one expects
the worst out of the grasshopper, even
those who stopped and listened await the truth
they have been taught, those that work not, eat not
and those who eat not, die. At every change
of Autumn this truth is taught to busy
children, working for the first time and new
to the turning of the weather and leaves.
I am still on the outside, still searching
for answers or for reasons and sometimes
I feel for me. November is giving
me the runaround, giving me away

to the elements where there’s not a way
to find what I need. November expects
me to fail quickly, fallen on hard times
of reality as all my searching
has left me barren as a tree without leaves,
no shade or fruit for me to be giving
anyone, only stark and naked truth
fills my branches, falling in uneven
and broken patterns. These patterns are new
and with each shifting breath of wind they change
and change again until they become, not
predictable, like the stoic busy

ants, but like the beautifully busy
grasshopper, whose music is turned away
like he is, by those who refuse to change.
This stripping, this cutting, this making new
of me, this arranging of me even
down to my heart and my mind, it is not
what I had expected, and as it times
itself I do not know what it expects
of me. I think now I did not want truth,
the weightlessness of the nakedness leaves
me lightheaded, confused, and still searching.
In this inward turning I am giving

 

 

everything away. I thought that giving
would be easy, made quick, being busy
I would blink and shed all my dying leaves,
I never thought that looking for the truth
would be so much work. Everyone expects
change to be immediate and searching
to come to an end but where there is change
it is always; it does not go away;
you can think it sleeps, or think there are times
when it disappears but it is even
in the way we breathe, bodies making new
energy out of matter that was not

matter until it was changed and was not
anything until moved by God’s giving
motion to the emptiness that even
now changes with the passing of the times.
I know now that I cannot run away
from what has happened or from what I knew.
It is late in November and the leaves
have all left. My family is busy
now with Thanksgiving. Some things never change.
Each member of my family expects
me to come and smile along with them. Truth
is, I want to; I am tired of searching

and not finding. I am tired of searching
for something I did not lose, a thing not
retrievable anyway: who expects
failure finds it; I will now expect change
and welcome it gladly. I will busy
myself with the coming year and in truth
I will be glad of the difference; even
hermit crabs must change their homes. Thanksgiving
dinner is perfect and its memory leaves
joy long after everyone goes away
and I return home, just like the old times,
except for me, I am completely new.

If I knew that all of my soul-searching
would fall away useless like the bright leaves
of the Fall, giving shelter in cold times
to no one; if I had known expects not
an answer but, even as the busy
ants wait for weather’s change, I wait for truth.

About G.M. Palmer

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