Wednesday, 5 October 2016

The autumn people...

As a boy I loved the change from summer to autumn. The lengthening of the nights and the winds that seemed to spring up from nowhere smelling of fried onions, rotting apples, the sea, damp earth. I'd walk home from school in the half light kicking at the dry brown leaves and trying to catch whatever music was in the air. Sometimes it was the cawing of a parliament of crows, other times the jingle of wind chimes. Once I heard the sound of a calliope machine, or it may have been a hurdy gurdy, in the distance. Either way it sent me into a cold shiver, the shadows suddenly seeming deeper and darker and I ran home as fast as I could. Autumn is the time of the autumn people you see, and you don't want to get tangled up with the autumn people.

The Autumn People

The autumn people are coming to town, wrapped in the folds of their autumn gowns, leaves made maiden and dust made men, the autumn people are here again. They blow with the wind and settle in shadow, feed on dreams no sleep left fallow, a scarecrow here, a ballerina there, dark autumn people everywhere. And some form as children and others as old, and each has a heart which beats with cold, a kiss for the girls and a trick for the boys, the autumn people enjoy their toys. Tom Scarecrow and old Mr Pumpkin Head, a doll with a pin and a mouth of dark red, a squaw, the clown, a fortune caster, an angel with flesh of grey alabaster. They smile in dark alleys, play under the moon, they skip, flit, and fling to another tune, watch them at your peril as they entrance, with the spell that binds to the autumn dance. Then up and away as a leaf in a storm, sucked into their revel from dusk till dawn, a cock to crow will stop their play, as the autumn people fade away. And after they’ve gone and they’ve stolen your fun, you’ll still be here but you’ll be no one, a used dry husk, an empty bottle, a grey broken moth that will never settle. So when those autumn people come to town, don’t be fooled by the grinning clown, stay away from their dark, don’t be drawn to their light, just leave those shades in perpetual night.

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