The Old Men In The Leaf Smoke

by Archibald MacLeish

Archibald MacLeish

The old men rake the yards for winter
Burning the autumn-fallen leaves.
They have no lives, the one or the other.
The leaves are dead, the old men live
Only a little, light as a leaf,
Left to themselves of all their loves:
Light in the head most often too.
Raking the leaves, raking the lives,
Raking life and leaf together,
The old men smell of burning leaves
But which is which they wonder &mdash whether
Anyone tells the leaves and loves &mdash
Anyone left, that is, who lives.

Last updated December 27, 2014