IN HEAVEN IT IS ALWAYS AUTUMN
by William Greenway
after John Donne
It all seemed to happen that same year
we lived in England, every hill golden
with the turning beeches, crimson apples
in the orchard by our cottage
muted pink by the mist rising
off the river reflecting
the upside down
palette of it all.
In Italy, the vineyards
wore the yellow, plaited hair
of harvest, every barn breathing out
the warm crush and gush of grapes
like the winey kisses of a long
we couldn’t see coming
stalled for a while,
an Indian summer before the stroke.
Had it happened while we were hiking
the paths of fallen leaves, miles
from help, we’d have thought, though
not said, we hoped for any afterlife
to rival this heaven—color box
of plum, ochre, cinnamon, lemon—
and the blood-red beauty of the dead
gone on before us.
William Greenway’s tenth collection, Everywhere at Once, won the Poetry Book of the Year Award from the Ohio Library Association, as did his eighth collection, Ascending Order. Both are from the University of Akron Press Poetry Series. His newest book, The Accidental Garden, is forthcoming from Word Press, and Selected Poems is forthcoming from FutureCycle Press, both in 2014. Greenway’s critical work, The Poetry of Personality: The Poetic Diction of Dylan Thomas, is forthcoming from Rowan and Littlefield in 2014. His publication credits include Poetry, American Poetry Review, Southern Review, Georgia Review, Missouri Review, Southern Poetry Review, Prairie Schooner, Poetry Northwest, and Shenandoah. He is the recipient of the Helen and Laura Krout Memorial Poetry Award, the Larry Levis Editors’ Prize from Missouri Review, the Open Voice Poetry Award from The Writer’s Voice, the State Street Press Chapbook Competition, an Ohio Arts Council Grant, and an Academy of American Poets Prize. Greenway was named Georgia Author of the Year. He is Distinguished Professor of English at Youngstown State University.