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  • Martha Charles

Whiteknights, Late September

The weary trees hang their branches low,

Drooping as they mourn another short-lived summer.

A fickle Sun taunts them, teasing the season’s return,

Beaming as rotten leaves are flung into murky puddles below.

Nearly naked twigs and sparse splinters are adorned with berries,

Which blush in crimson clusters as they are stroked by a persistent wind.


The students seem largely unaware of these autumnal sorrows,

Some hurry, some meander, all with somewhere to be.

The greatest concern of the hour is what everyone will have for lunch,

With two young men bemoaning the lack of anything “cheap” in the Co-Op.

Meanwhile, a gang of blue clouds tumbles across the sky,

Their thick fog towering over the amber buildings as they rear up to swallow them whole.


A handful of small birds bob aimlessly across the lake’s shimmering, slimy surface.

Two brown-headed gulls, the occasional moorhen, but no ducks or geese.

In Spring, you can hear them squawk at passers-by who stray too close to their nests,

But today, aside from the occasional creak or whistle from a speeding bike, all is silent.

The grass has been recently cut. Its wild tresses are now lopped to a fraction of their glorious

height, yet still refuse to yield their emerald hue to the amounting cold.

Green never looked so defiant.

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