And Then?

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?


Copyright 2018

T. Allen Culpepper



The Inevitable Birthday Poem

The tumbled geometries of the cityscape

bask in pools of light–cool blue, warm golden;

the tenderest top leaves of the young pear tree

adjacent to the rooftop deck slow dance

to the softly swirling autumn breeze

on a still-too-warm October evening,

and azaleas bloom out of season.

Another birthday; I’ve rolled a double five.


I guess it’s good enough to be alive,

not important to understand the reason,

but to  take the air and just keep breathing;

treat others kindly but do as you please;

don’t be afraid to take your one big chance.

The Boss says open doors don’t mean the ride’s free;

to your history you may be beholden,

but the road itself is your escape.


Copyright 2017

T. Allen Culpepper

A Few Meditate on Peace as Nature Makes Her Art

Painter’s dabs of gold,

pale green, orange-red, and brown

shining glossy wet,

as if freshly stroked on canvas

by the artist’s dripping brush:

Tulsa’s Guthrie Green

in cold autumn rain,

backgrounding some six-and-ten

gathered to embrace

the warm soul of peace.


Copyright 2015

T. Allen Culpepper

Michaelmas Time

For James Crane, who reminded me of the term “Michaelmas daisies”


The blurry haze beginning to clear

just after the canonical hour of Terce,

filtered sun warms my skin as I

drink coffee on the front porch

on a Saturday morning in late

September, the calico cat drowsily

draped over the other chair, as

morning glory wakes and spreads

in worship its blossoms, which oscillate

in the wind like members of a charismatic

sect at public prayer, but the liturgy

does not lack irony, for is not only

the morning glory that blooms;

so too do the lavender-blue asters,

named by the Greeks for their

starry flowers, elsewhere known as

Michaelmas daises because their

season climaxes on the feast day

of the archangel-general—coincidentally

falling—as Lucifer fell from heaven

to piss on everyone’s blackberries—

near the autumnal equinox, reaching

their height as he descends from his,

harbingers of shortening days, the

waning of summer’s sun-filled hours,

the expansion of dark night from which

we call on the godlike Michael

to protect us, when the scholars

begin to sequester themselves

in the halls of learning to resume

with re-awakened vigor after

recreational holiday-making, the

excavation of their various

esoteric profundities, and a

quarter-day of reckoning as well,

when, along with the bannock-cake,

one’s goose is cooked. But aren’t the

purple asters lovely, breeze-ruffled

in softened sunshine?


Copyright 2014

  1. Allen Culpepper

Autumn Flora

One expects the mums, of course,

still hanging on: sun-faded crimson,

purples leaning toward mauve,

yellow attempting a second round;

marigolds and salvia linger,

since we’re still pre-freeze–

not quite the norm, but there’s precedent;

the blue and yellow pansies, being

lovers of the colder weather,

deciding whether it’s their season,

reading to take off, but cautious;

but the garden relishes surprise:

azalea blooms, though sparse, undeniable.


Copyright 2013

T. Allen Culpepper