Beside the squat, square tower
of the red-brick church, up which
the ivy cannot commit to climb,
an oak has begun its autumnal rite,
one quadrant turned to gold–
not yet glory, but the promise of it.
Truth that, yet a falsehood as well,
for the trooping of the colours precedes
the dead march toward the brown rot
that winter will freeze and try
to mask with dirty snow.
Eternal expectation that the compost
will feed new growth in spring,
but still also the persistent doubts–
Who are the elect, who the elector,
what if the plan should fail?
T. Allen Culpepper