Raspberries in October

They're the sweetest,
these late ones, 
only a handful left 
after last night's frost. 
Time to consider last things, 
review the life 
I've written for summer stars, 
gifts I've given to cities of snow 
and their mayors, the finches,
and to my sons, my kings to come, 
and to Linda, 
who knows me and knows 
how little I've given. 
Toppled cornstalks lie beaten 
in the dying garden.
their leathery leaves glistening 
with a skin of ice, 
face the earth head-on.
Grey tomatoes drop, 
gone to mush, 
as our flesh does, 
in the end, 
the beautiful end.

I lick the blood of raspberries 
on my palm. 
Chrysanthemums bend 
their yellow heads. 
Tonight will finish them. 
savoring the taste 
of another season ending,
I'll write this, 
nothing but this, 
and, as always, 
give it away to stars.

Edward Harkness