Autumn: The Only Question

The following poem by Burton D. Carley is taken from the 1997 Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association worship materials guide. I encountered it via Panhala, an e-mail newsletter that puts a quotation (usually a poem) in my inbox every morning.

I do not know if the seasons remember their history or if the days and nights by which we count time remember their own passing.

I do not know if the oak tree remembers its planting or if the pine remembers its slow climb toward sun and stars.

I do not know if the squirrel remembers last fall's gathering or if the bluejay remembers the meaning of snow.

I do not know if the air remembers September or if the night remembers the moon.

I do not know if the earth remembers the flowers from last spring or if the evergreen remembers that it shall stay so.

Perhaps that is the reason for our births--to be the memory for creation.

Perhaps salvation is something very different than anyone ever expected.

Perhaps this is the only question we will have to answer: "What can you tell me about September?"

To subscribe to Panhala, send a blank e-mail to Burton D. Carley is the minister of the First Unitarian Church of Memphis, Tennessee. For more of his poems, see the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations website.

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