In autumn our river trees turn to
asceticism, fast down to the last twig,
shedding leaves as though they were
passions, weaving carpets of decay.
They do this without hesitation in
order that the river, which serves them
all year, might have its season to shine.
And shine it does, for five proud months,
Slate-tinted through the day, attended by
a humble sun, black at night with bracelets
flashing on its arms, snow like ermine
draping its shoulders til spring returns
and the trees’ humility is rewarded; the
Buddha born a prince once more.