Story Notes: This poem was the winner of Stage 2 of The Eighth Annual October Triathlon: Race to Hallowe'en!
The First Autumn
Helga is leaning on the wooden window-frame.
Fall is coming. Fields will be fallow; the birds will fly
to wherever it is that they overwinter.
The days are shortening in the final flings of summer.
Autumn will creep over the land,
turning the furze to flame, to fire the ovens,
and the foliage will fall, baring its naked branches.
The tall wooden hall, with rooms to house a hundred...
Will they be filled? The children, will they come?
Their fearful families could hold them back,
promises foregone and plans left unfulfilled.
Better to hold onto the old habits,
cling to the customs of our forefathers.
We will be safe if we follow the ancient ways.
Helga leans on the whittled window sill.
"Hallowed ones, hear our prayer."