The time in mind is gold: tumbling leaf-fall
And side-lit radiance, as if the stone
The alchemists once sought were merely light
And leaf—the ground goes gold, the sunny leaves
Flittering like gold-sided fish to school
The earth. Such treasuries of leaves! I lift
One leaf, observe simplicity of form,
As if child-drawn, with mastery of line.
The veins almost invisible, the stem
And skin unvarying in wealth of gold.

You have slipped away, fluttering in dark.
You were more like a child than any man
I ever knew—your faith a yellow leaf,
Calm yet burning in your outstretched hand.

In memory of Alton Van Cleef