nichepoetryandprose

poetry and prose about place

yellow rain

with 10 comments


In October, we still have at least one more autumn display, the shedding of the tamarack needles.   Tamarack is a deciduous tree and loses most of its needles this time of year.  We have a number of tamaracks on our property, so the golden needles fall as a constant ‘rain’ during late October and early November.

Tamarack (Larix laracina (DuRoi) K. Koch) is also known as Hackmatack, American or Black Larch and, in French, épinette rouge.   Tamarack is a large tree, with a narrow pyramidal canopy and pendulous branches.  

In my head, I can still hear the voice of my undergraduate botany professor, who was interested in the origin of growth forms of plants, saying, “the tamarack has, here, both short shoots and long shoots”.  The short shoots emerge from the sides of branches and resemble small bunches or tufts of needles, and the long shoots grow at the ends of each branch and are elongated, with single needles along the length.  The needles are small and generally very soft to the touch compared to other conifers. 

Today, there is evidence that the ‘amber rain’ has begun, just a few needles on every outside surface.  By the end of next week, the windshield of the car will need a swipe of the wipers to clear the yellow needles.

Tamarack needles on the frozen water of the birdbath

 

 

Amber Rain

~

autumn fades

bright carpets

            swept away

pale ghosts rattle

            from beech and oak

limp rags hang

            on frosted pumpkin vines

~

but still

a touch of autumn 

            stands of larch

            yellow in the afternoon

~

and now

a gust of wind

begins

the amber rain

~

            pelting needles

            fill the air

            soaking ground

            strewing gold

            everywhere

~

fairy straw

washed to the edge

of puddle shores

flooding borders

of roads, driven

by wind, a storm

of gold

~

            needles patter

            gentle chatter

~

where begins

the amber rain?

is it larch

or hackmatack,

juniper

or tamarack?

who sends the amber rain?

~

 

© Jane Tims  1992

Written by jane tims

November 6, 2011 at 7:19 am

10 Responses

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  1. Thanks for the like and for sharing your great poetry! Neat.

    Cheers,
    Andreas

    Like

    Andreas Uneby

    November 18, 2011 at 5:48 am

    • Hi. I’ll have a better look at your site a little later. Thanks for liking my poem. Jane

      Like

      jane tims

      November 18, 2011 at 6:17 pm

  2. Golden feathers of autumn. Lovely. In particular, this line leaps to me…”fairy straw, washed to the edge of puddle shores”

    And I also love the sound of the names – hackmatack, tamarack – they are like drumbeats in the rhythm of your words, a contrast to the image of raining amber.

    Like

    Deborah Carr

    November 8, 2011 at 10:32 am

    • Hi Deborah. I find the origins of the names so compelling. The words ‘hackmatack’ and ‘tamarack’ seem appropriate to the off-beat quality of this tree. Jane

      Like

      jane tims

      November 8, 2011 at 9:37 pm

  3. Hi Jane… they are a beautiful tree in their own right. Great post! Perfect poem for this time of year. 🙂
    Denis

    <<<<>>>>>

    Like

    JD

    November 6, 2011 at 10:43 am

    • I will be reviewing all the posts I missed in the near future. Promise. I still have a ton of things to do before the onset of real winter….the last nor’easter kind of caught me unawares. -Denis

      Like

      JD

      November 6, 2011 at 10:46 am

      • Hi. First, do all those November chores! Then you can read posts all the indoor-days of winter… Jane

        Like

        jane tims

        November 7, 2011 at 7:34 am

    • Hi Denis. I think the name ‘Hackmatack’ is so charming… just right for such an ‘unconventional’ tree. Jane

      Like

      jane tims

      November 7, 2011 at 7:31 am

  4. Hi Jane, I enjoyed your lovely post of “amber rain!” I love the tamaracks too, and now I know more about them.

    Like

    Ellen Grace Olinger

    November 6, 2011 at 10:04 am


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