Whether trees sound, and how,
alone in a forest falling,
no one I know seems to know,
and most I know have stopped caring,
though the question seems
to grow on like the trees
that go on falling.

But this much I know for sure,
or as sure as one can be owning,
that when leaves finally die
they aren't so quietly going
to the place where all leaf spirits go
--here's the basis of my knowing:

I was sitting reading one night,
absorbed in the lines I was reading,
when behind me came a sound,
but not the sounds of limbs cracking,
though loud enough it was
to spin me around searching.

All I could see with my eyes
was a bright yellow leaf hanging,
and still from death's clutch shaking,
off a large plant which I tended.
It was then I resolved to remember
the truth of that moment's drama
to avoid the consuming enigma
of questions about leaves and their dying
in rooms where people are sitting.

This much I can say without swearing:
there wasn't a dramatic explosion;
but that's not the same as saying
that silence marked the occasion.
When a leaf died in my room, a thing
I'm still remembering,
you would have heard with me, and seen,
by a dim and flickering light,
a sound like a small "tch"
shatter an icy winter night.  

February 1981                                                                                  

All written material © Bill Schechter, 2016
Contact Bill Schechter