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Essay and Poem: Nature’s Play in Three Acts

October 16, 2013


Thirty Years Ago, This Autumn



     Having studied Spanish Literature for a number of years, I was fascinated by the placement of words and lines on the pages of poetry by the Mexican poet Octavio Paz and the Colombian poet Jose Asuncion Silva.  When I wrote the following poem

thirty-one years ago, the beautiful autumnal setting of my Hoosier home was my inspiration—along with poets of faraway lands.  The trees that reflected the autumnal rainbow of yellow, gold, orange, rust, and crimson had been planted in 1914, by my maternal grandfather—Martino, who was born on October 6, 1876, in Italy.  Not until my nephews were young boys did we have to replace the maple trees which my grandfather had planted.  For many decades, those trees had bestowed their majesty in all seasons for my family, our neighbors, and the strangers who passed by.  Besides marveling at the spectacle of these trees, I used to climb into the lower branches, as well as enjoy the swing which was secured to a sturdy branch of one of the tallest of these maples.  When I was young, raking the fallen leaves and pushing them into a big pile brought forth the fun highlights of autumn.  How my sister and I jumped into the piles of leaves!  I even remember sculpting a pile of leaves to resemble a nest and then sitting in the middle of the nest of leaves as if I were a bird. 


     As I grew a little older, I enjoyed photographing these family trees.  Those snapshots remain in my mind’s eye and poet’s heart.  Those trees that inspired the following poem continue to bring me the seasonal pleasure of autumn’s splendor.  My grandfather and his maple trees helped to give me one of my first poems to be published in a national quarterly magazine—thirty years ago, this autumn.



Nature’s Play in Three Acts


by Alice Jane-Marie Massa



Lady Nature knows


     when the third act is done,


     she drops the curtain of leaves that have won


          the applause, applause–


     and now to pause.




Behind the scenes of wintering,


     she rewrites the lines


     and tries to find


          new ways to set the lights,


          new actors to invite.


She makes new plans


     and waits for the hands


          that will laud and applaud


          her new first act of Spring.



Post-script:  Now thirty years later, the quarterly magazine in which this poem appeared in 1983, published one of my lengthier essays about my three Leader Dogs.  In this year’s spring issue of Dialogue magazine, my article is titled “Golden Gifts of Freedom” and focuses on the freedoms which my three guide dogs have given me.  In addition to being an avid reader of Dialogue magazine for over three decades, I am very grateful to Dialogue’s editors who selected some of my writings for their wonderful periodical.


Enjoy Autumn’s rainbow of colors and the rustling of the fallen leaves!



October 16, 2013, Wednesday



From → Uncategorized

  1. Although I have lived in Colorado for over thirty-five years, I still miss the autumn back home in Indiana. The depth of color in the midwestern woods far surpasses the solid gold of the Colorado aspen in this Hoosier’s opinion! Thank you for sharing your special thoughts and experiences, Alice.
    Love, Mary

  2. Hi Alice, I like this poem. Congratulations on having your articles published.

  3. Yes, Mary. There is no comparison to the Midwest landscape, especially in the fall. Thanks for sharing your interesting descriptions, Alice.

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