A Press of Leaves


I took a handful of leaves to smell

And pressed them gently against my face.

What delight can be found in a silly thing.

What joy like a child’s such play can bring.


The scent was not of frankincense or myrrh,

But earthy, giving the sense a stir,

And sharing in the incense of the woods,

While different-scented winter looms.


The leaves of fall are desiccated things,

Apt portants of a barren time.

Once they were lush and richly green,

Reflecting the sun with a lively sheen.


But, all that lives must surely die,

As fallen leaves do testify.

They form an unburied host of the dead,

Reminder of the bones the prophet saw.


A cruel deception is played on our sense

That makes us unwary of what is true..

How can that press of leaves smell so sweet

As if death is sugar and not rotting meat?


And yet, there’s truth in our joyful play.

Grim death is gloom, but leads to Day.

It is the gate to endless light,

Where faith transmutes to keenest sight.


Michael Tavella  Easter 3  2023

The Holy Sepulcher
The Prairie– The Flint Hills