Poems from Here

With Maine Poet Laureate Stuart Kestenbaum


Today’s poem is “Ode to Autumn” by Sally Bliumis-Dunn. Her poems have appeared in the Paris Review, Plume, Prairie Schooner, The Academy of American Poets’ “Poem-a-day,” and The Writer’s Almanac. “Ode to Autumn” is from her third full-length collection, “Echolocation,” which was published by Plume Editions, MadHat Press in March 2018.

The poem, she says, “was written to my mother in her last year of life when both her mental and physical abilities were quite diminished. The poem wishes to evoke her former vibrant self which I envisioned through the brilliant autumn leaves which too would soon leave their life on the earth.”


“Ode to Autumn”

By Sally Bliumis-Dunn


So many colors abandon the earth,
and go skyward to the trees
like origami birds,


scarlet, orange, creased
and folded into the mind
where these paper birds come alive,
the trees quiver a little —


this is where I can
still see you


in these gray branches
with brightly colored
birds that are not birds —envision you


still darning
the heels of Jimmy’s socks
those evenings after school


at the kitchen table when
you’d run your finger down our list —

not here in the duller green
where the last of the pink roses
are browning on the vine,


and along the fence,
your favorite lilies, wilted,


and everywhere
the hungry bees.


Poem copyright ©2018 Sally Bliumis-Dunn. Reprinted from “Echolocation,” MadHat Press, 2018, by permission of Sally Bliumis-Dunn.


“Poems from Here” is presented in collaboration with the Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance, the Maine Arts Commission and the Maine Community Foundation’s Expansion Arts Fund. Special thanks to Robert M. Chute and family along with Phil Steele and Francesca Galluccio-Steele for making “Poems from Herepossible. Additional support is provided by The New Writing Series at the University of Maine. The radio version appears weekly on Maine Public Radio at 1:55 p.m. and 7:55 p.m. and on Maine Public Classical at 11:55 a.m. and 4:55 p.m.

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