September 22nd

{Photograph by Damien Pitter}

Autumn will arrive on September 22nd.

This is how I imagine it happened
although I wasn’t there
to hear it.

Summer in Yokohama
sizzles like the tropics.
Temperatures soar and
unable to store their furry coats
as we do
and pray for rain.
Even the Japanese
move slowly,
the women protected
from the sun
by designer umbrellas.

Public pools heave,
a hornets’ nest
of children
and laugh
and do do not think
of Autumn.
They live
entire liftetimes
in each turquoise

Autumn will arrive on September 22nd.
The Japanese know things like this.
The exact day on which
humidity will lift
and temperatures will fall
like seagulls
diving towards the bay.

Japanese trains
always arrive on time
and so will


A shaking off
of angel wings
that began to grow
in summer.

We store away
our childish dreams
of play
to concentrate on
serious matters.
and work.

We grieve
and get on with it.

When Europeans first arrived
in the inhospitable wilds
of Canada,
the fruits and vegetables of
their autumn labour
ensured their survival.
I exist because
my ancestors knew
how to
get to

When a cool breeze
brings my colleague’s words
to life
on September 22nd,
I’m not surprised.
One season leads
to the next
and Harvest must begin.
As the pools are closed
by public decree,
mothers tuck away swim suits
and pull out sweaters and jackets.

Autumn will arrive on September 22nd.

A few days later
just to show she’s still in charge
Mother Nature sends us
several days of stinking hot.
not even Japan
gets to boss her around.


  1. Half a centuary ago I spent three years in Japan,,,this was a return trip in my old age…Thank you for the pleasure.

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