Autumn Palette

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Bright and early Tomorrow morning, Bill will undergo  complete shoulder replacement surgery. With one knee already done, many friends are calling him “The Bionic Man.” I wrote this poem for him back in 2005, and since it is fall and he’s on my mind as we step into another healing adventure together, I thought I’d share it with you.

Autumn Palette
for Bill

Across the river trees flare
yellow orange gold
the flow of water a painting
awash in late day light
ever changing in intensity
as ruffles of wind eddy the surface
invisible fingers at play

A walk we took years ago
before we became us
in woods of scarlet sugar maples
Vermont air crisp and clear
the lake before us blue shimmering
deep and endless as the sky
we wandered under
projecting our future together
on the white canvas
of a passing cloud

We were young and limber
ready to climb the mountains
flame red in the distance
never imagining this day
you and I burnished by time
settled on a river bank
reflecting in October light



  1. patricia Stark says:

    So lovely – I wish Bill the best – with loads of love,


  2. Thanks, Patti! I’ll send your best wishes along.

  3. Joan, the images you evoke in this poem are so very beautiful! I love “before we become us.”

    Please give Bill my best wishes. I also wish you the best as you become the caregiver. I know that is a role for which one needs support. My prayers are with you both.

    • Thank you so much, Saloma. I’m so glad you liked the poem. I’m spending a lot more time with my poetry these days and hope to start writing new poems again soon! I will send you best wishes along to Bill. Your prayers are much appreciated.

  4. I really like this poem, Joan. And I can imagine the strength it will give Bill tomorrow as he undergoes surgery. I’ll light a candle for both of you at the Abbey.

    • Thank you so much, Shirley. Bill was surprised to see the poem this morning and happy that I posted it. He hasn’t seen it in a long time, and did get a boost from it. Surgery is at 10:45 AM tomorrow morning and I know he’ll not feel great for a while but will have a smooth recovery.

  5. Caregiver, book-launcher, and poet. Your life is aflame with activity now. I may include a link to this poem & post when I publish my review of your book on my blog next week.

    Prayers ascend for you both!

    • Marian, thanks so much for your thoughts and prayers. Please do include a link to this poem if you’d like to. And also thanks in advance for your review. I hope you are settling in to your new home and lifestyle.

  6. This is beautiful, Joan. Please send along my best wishes to Bill for a successful surgery and a speedy recovery. You two are the “come back kids”!

    • I like that … the “come back kids.” Thank you for your best wishes and appreciation of my poem. Bill has seen all of these comments and thanks each and every one of you.

  7. BEAUTIFUL poem, Joan. Sending Bill my very best wishes for a speedy and thorough recovery.

    • Laurie, thanks so much for your best wishes. Bill has taken great comfort from everyone who has commented here. And I love that you liked my poem!

  8. What a beautiful poem, Joan. Sending lots of healing thoughts to Bill and his best nurse!

  9. Beautiful. Wishing you both a healing adventure.

    • Thanks Dorothy. The surgery went well and we await the healing that will now take place. Perhaps when he’s feeling better we’ll try mountain climbing! 🙂

  10. Sweet, sweet love. It sounds like Bill made it through the surgery well. Now the healing and then the hard work of rebuilding and strengthening. You have an overflowing plate, Joan, with a new book and caregiving. I’m glad you’re taking care of someone you love and someone who will get well. I look forward to reading your book.

    • Yes, Bill is the miracle man. He is doing really well … he’s typing with two hands, is dressing himself, takes his sling off and puts it on himself and there is little pain. Yes, my plate is overflowing but so far so good and yes, this will get better. I am not taking care of someone who is dying. Thank the good Lord!

  11. This is lovely, Joan, and touching and inspiring. I enjoyed the introduction in Marian’s post, and I’m so pleased to meet you.

  12. Beautiful poem . yes how did we all get to this stage in life. Give Bill our love and hope shoulder is not painful!