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This year autumn set in early –

The leaves turned russet and gold

and floated into the drive unexpectedly.

I looked up in surprise and

saw a bird take off in a hurry

from naked branches

into a dark silver sky.

Signs had been there – I had ignored them all:

a yellow leaf on the car roof,

a sudden evening chill,

fingers of purple shadows

clutching fast the pre-dawn sill.

It is now nearly dark,

the sun has gone from orange to red,

a mournful silence surrounds the stars

the day, declared dead!