Lurid, Autumn’s Gold

Lurid, Autumn's Gold

The morning mist enveloped autumn’s shades
And auburn, crimson, scarlet –
They all paled
And blended into lurid,
The yellow pale.
Beneath the nascent sky.

If lurid mushrooms come your way,
They’re good and healthy and they should stay
For supper, if they may.
But bright ones, picked in Autumn…
Stay away!
Or you own skin will turn lurid…
One day.

I let them fly,
Between the Autumn’s wings,
My dreams,
Like lurid ghosts amid the yellow leaves.

Some words carry an emotional burden, like lurid. Used in 17th century to describe stages of bruising and corpses, lurid sipped into nature: lifeless, pale, yellowish leaves of Autumn… Then it floated to ghastly light… And, finally, made the shocking news.

The ghastly, lurid light that covered the Afghan earth when Taliban destroyed the Bamiyan Buddhas in March 2001. You can read about this in my latest book, Silent Heroes, When Love and Values Are Worth Fighting for.

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Scarlet Autumn and Chestnuts

autumn with scarlet lips @PatFurstenberg

Dressed today only in russet and sepia, underneath a cloak of raindrops, Autumn painted her lips scarlet to match her passion for life.
Whoever said Autumn if full of dead lives hasn’t seen her jumping through puddles.

autumn chestnut maroon scarlet photo @artur_luczka free unsplash

The chestnut had stripped off its prickly shield for a luscious maroon and blushed a scarlet, thinking herself to be the sunset. For looking down, the chestnut thought she was the cause of the russet, parchment-like leaf…
And Autumn sighed.

autumn forest candles johannes-plenio-fee-unsplash.jpg

I saw Autumn lighting up leaves like some russet, amber and scarlet candles to celebrate the approach of Winter. The days are shorter, yet there is no loss in the Fall, but a celebration of what is to come.
For tomorrow would be nothing without today.

Perhaps Fall painting her leaves scarlet is her way of reminding us that, even in the Autumn of our lives, we are still beautiful…

Hard to think of scarlet and not to end with “letter” or visualize Autumn leaves floating away with my thoughts…
Yet scarlet, originated in the Persian saqalāt, was in Medieval Europe a high-priced, luxury, woolen cloth.

medieval scarlet a high-priced, luxury, woolen cloth. originated in the Persian saqalāt.jpg

Which autumn color is your favorite?
I hope you will return for more colors, seasonal posts and dog stories for all.

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Autumn’s crimson battle and a Ferrari

Autumn. crimson leaves and a shaggy happy dog - quote @PatFurstenberg.jpg

It has been a long, crimson battle for the shaggy warrior, but he won it. Nevertheless, the carmine bodies of his opponents, the Autumn’s subjects, littered the ground.

autumn crimson art of napping @PatFurstenberg.jpg

Drenched in memories of bloody battlefields, sentencing childbirths and sin, Crimson sank at Autumn’s feet. Hand picked by Her and entrusted with her most prized possession, her leaves, Crimson now looks up, in the symphony of life.

crimson trees

Never have the carmine or crimson colors been happier as this Autumn!

autumn happy crimsone and charmine @PatFurstenberg

Above, russet leaves, hushed tones, their veins facing the road, trembling in anticipation. In a tornado of horse power and diesel a Ferrari flashed by, crimson, as if pulled by the ray of sun caught in its glass.
And leaves, like paparazzi, followed.

And leaves, like paparazzi, followed the Ferrari @PatFurstenberg

Dating back to Roman times and the Middle Ages when it was accepted as payment, the crimson or carmine dye was first made from the body of the female kermes (Atabic qirmiz), a tiny red insect.

Carmine pigment is not very stable unless it is stored in dry place and it fades even under incandescent illumination.

Kermes (carmine) is mentioned in the Old Testament and it was used in the Americas for dyeing textiles as early as 700 B.C.

Example of carmine used in art:

Titian, ‘Noli me Tangere‘, ca 1514
Titian, ‘Noli me Tangere‘, ca 1514 – “let no one touch me.”

Titian depicts the biblical scene (John 20:17) where Mary Magdalene recognizes Christ after his Resurrection. Christ comforts Magdalen but asks her not to touch him as he will ascend to Heaven soon. Noli me tangere is Latin for “let no one touch me.”

Do return to my blog for more colors and seasons. You can subscribe to my newsletter and never miss a post.

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Autumnal Sepia and a Letter from a Squid

Autumn Sepia @PatFurstenberg

When I think of sepia, first to spring to mind are treasure family mementos on small squares of paper, with laced edges or the 1930’s “pearl” colored MGM movies.
Yet sepia is also one of Autumn’s first gifts.

A sepia painting in Autumn

Fall paints the world with the melancholy of old photos.
Mulching leaves underfoot, rimming my shoes with a layer of tears.
Smells of earth filled with secrets and the promise of snow to come.
A necessity step.
I take it and bring thanks.

Sepia - Fall paints the world with the melancholy of old photos.
Sepia – Fall paints the world with the melancholy of old photos.

A Letter from a Squid

I imagine the 19th century seafarers falling overboard, suddenly forced to wrestle a giant squid to save their own life. Having already reached the end of a bitter yarn spun out of mutiny, little pay and, perhaps, lack of shore privileges, the sailor punches and wrestles the best and eventually, defeats it in its own habitat.

Seafarers fighting the giant squid
Seafarers fighting the giant squid

I can see the exhausted mariner at the end of the fight, every neuron in his brain demanding oxygen, his own fervor for life pulling him to the surface. Braking the waves, a helpless human again, addicted to oxygen.
And perhaps with blue skin.
An angry cuttlefish always releases an inky secretion.
It was the 19th century painters who realized its chromatic use first. But surely after the seamen.

Ever received a letter from a squid?
Ever received a letter from a squid?

More autumn colors coming soon… Until then…

As Good as Gold

“I have a confession to make. I’m not much of a dog lover. I’m more a cat person so I wasn’t sure if I would enjoy As Good As Gold, celebrating dogs. I needn’t have worried. I thoroughly enjoyed this charming collection of verse and as a result of reading it I think I understand dogs so much better.”

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Feuille-Morte and A Nightingale in Autumn

Autumn is splashing out its colors, giving away her best dead leaves, feuilles mortes. If I would describe Fall to you as the season with brownish-orange dry leaves, would I get your attention?


Dead leaves, dry leaves, faded, brownish-yellow.

Feuille morte, sun’s promise captured in amber.
The spicy scent of cinnamon steaming from childhood’s pumpkin pies. Crunching in my mouth to the cadence of feuille mortes underneath my feet.

Feuilles-mortes, dead leaves, autumn colors
Feuilles-mortes, dead leaves, autumn colors

Nightingale in Autumn

Masked by a philamot leaf,
Its faded hue a match for the grey plumage
Of the Philomela perched behind, on a twig –
Or was she hiding, aware of her tune, a heavenly image?

Philamot color, Philomela - Nightingale, in Autumn
Philamot color, Philomela – Nightingale, in Autumn

Philamot, sometimes spelled philomot, is another word describing autumn’s yellow-brown foliage (feuille).

I hope you will return to my blog for more autumn colors and words.

Speaking of words and seasons, you might like to sneak a peek inside my Christmas Haiku book:

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