"The Perfect Leaf"

...

Throughout the autumn months, with tree and bush alight,

I have been searching, straining all my sight.

Below the dismal sky, above the dying earth,

Eyes darting, wind blowing, my heart a dying hearth,

My soul, in searching, leads myself from place to place,

Seeking, in a quest, for something to replace.

...

Getting lost through gardens of decay,

Below the trees as brazen as the day,

I have been judging leaves on wind, and earth, and tree,

Searching for perfection wherever it may be;

Judging each in color, craft, and size,

Gazing and guessing where perfection lies .

...

Then one day, upon the wind, right before my eyes,

I saw a leaf as bright in hue as coastal sunrise,

Crafted of perfection, forged in brazen fire,

Of beautiful complection, gifted to inspire.

...

It was the perfect leaf, just within my hand,

Unique in ev'ry way from others in this land—

Sitting, just sitting, a ruby in repose

Mine to grasp, mine to take, mine to ever have.

...

I hesitated, held by fear, blinded by beauty,

Lost and distant from my duty.

I gazed and touched, wondered and thought

About this trinket that I had sought.

And there is sat alone before my eyes,

And there it went before my eyes could realize!

...

It was whipped in the air by capricious fate,

Tossed by the wind, I too late.

It danced and it fluttered, dipping and flying,

And I lunged and I crashed, tripping and crying.

...

It soon was out of sight, swallowed by the dismal sky,

From whence it came, whence it went, whence it shall ever lie;

And year after year, season after season, under moonlight or the sun,

I've wished and I've waited, longing for that single one.

It was once a dream; it became a terror of the night.

It haunted me whether under sunlight or streetlight, in the corner of my sight.

...

But she never returned, only haunting,

Hawking my steps, my mind ever wanting,

Until my hope and dream after flaring like fall,

Died, fell, and decayed like leaves; like them all,

Leaving me hollow and longing, the wind biting my heart,

That very same place where all this did start.

...

Fini