Tag Archives: autumn

Falling into Grace

Falling into Grace    —by Jinny Batterson

Grace Church, the church of my childhood,
Smelled of furniture polish, dust, and old masonry.
It sat squat, tucked into a hillside above a graveyard
Where my mother, at twelve, had sledded into a
Headstone, chipping both front teeth.

From behind the altar, stained-glass-filtered light
Shone on the choir stall where I sat, searching in the
Back of the Book of Common Prayer for my springtime
Birth date in the schedule for each year’s Easter.

My cousin, Grace, came for a week’s visit
As we both teetered at the edge of adolescence.
She had an athletic build, a mane of blond hair.
Not self-conscious about her body like I was,
She shed her day clothes before bed, revealing
The beginnings of breasts and pubes where
I was still flat and hairless.

During college jaunts to the small Shenandoah
Valley town where my boyfriend studied, I walked
Past a different church. Early in the 20th century, it
Was renamed to honor a fallen general with a mixed
Legacy that has become increasingly problematic
In our post-Charlottesville polarizations. 

My childhood church is still there, if little used.
My cousin Grace died after a horse riding accident.
Reverting to its original name, Grace Episcopal
In Lexington, Virginia struggles for reconciliation.
Nostalgia renders all more graceful.

It’s the season of falling—leaves blush, then let go.
We notice lengthening darkness, tremble at dark events.
When we pay attention, though, we still have access to
Qualities of bearing, blessing, benediction:
There’s still the possibility of falling into grace.


The Gold Comes Back

These parodies of Frost’s poem “Nothing Gold Can Stay” (http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/nothing-gold-can-stay/) were triggered, respectively, by a gorgeous recent sunset, autumn travels when the leaves are turning, and an octogenarian friend’s training regimen for this year’s upcoming Senior Games. Perhaps references to returning gold are appropriate on this income tax day…

West-facing terrace, friends,
Chat as sunlight ends.
The sky with clouds afloat—
We glance, horizon boasts
A slowly spreading flame:
The sunset’s glorious game.
Though dawn’s fresh dew we lack,
At evening, the gold comes back.

As waning days grew short
We ventured forth in search
Of fall’s vibrancy.
Gingko, maple, aspen
Showed off their undies then
In varied amber hues,
Unleafing in technicolor:
Red, orange, yellow–at autumn gold’s return.

In spring an old man’s fancy
Turns to fitness.
Off with the long underwear!
On with the jogging shorts.
The gym membership card
Gets found and dusted off.
No longer youth’s brassy bronze
Or hair’s silvering—at 80, aim for the gold!