An Auguring of Winter to Come


by Oisín Breen (August 2021)

Autumn Sunset, Emil Nolde


The leaves fell
Into a rustling pool
Of shared synapses
Disturbed and distributed
By gusts of wind.

It was an apostolic gathering
Of crinkled petioles, midribs,
Veins and blades,

And, like lightning shanked off course
Pulsing instead through spent spines,
Each collapse resounded in the common tongue,
A refrain of spooled air, and late bursting fruits,
Chokeberries, rosehips, red-twigged dogwood,
Elderberries, Mulberries, and hawthorn berries:
A future feast for birds.

And the leaves fell,
I watched them pirouette,
On a parabolic arch
That distilled the rigours of time.

And, as their parents loosed a raiment
Of ash and brilliant gold, Of well worn green,
And maple hue, the air trilled
An autumnal song: an anticipatory spasm of life,
Through life already spent, to signify the future:
An auguring of frost, and boots
Crunching yesterday’s hardened lungs,
True divination in arboreal bones,
And a pre-echo of darkness, 
And long nights by the fire.


Table of Contents




Oisín Breen is a poet, part time academic in narratological complexity, and a financial journalist. Dublin born and bred, Breen spent the last decade living in Edinburgh, after a rip-roaring period that took in, amongst other things, the Middle East; a stint in a bizarre one-donkey town with excellent wine; and a total inability to properly fit a door onto a mountain. His debut collection, Flowers, all Sorts in Blossom, Figs, Berries, and Fruits, Forgotten was released last year by Hybrid press in Edinburgh (

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