To a Student Who Lied About Trees in a Poem Called Autumn

J.R. Solonche

Listen, please do not lie about the trees.

Do not say that in autumn all the trees die.


This isn’t true.

In autumn, all the leaves die, not the trees.


Some trees die in autumn, just as some trees die in summer,

and some in spring, and some in winter.


But in autumn, what all the trees do is go to sleep.

Autumn is their night, as spring is their morning.


Trees tell time differently from us, you see.

To them, a year is a day.


They go to sleep in autumn and wake up in spring,

just as we go to sleep tonight and wake up tomorrow morning.


So next time you write a poem about autumn,

or about anything else for that matter, please tell the truth.


If you want to lie, because after all, it is a poem that you write,

lie about yourself. Okay

Professor Emeritus of English at SUNY Orange, J.R. Solonche has published poetry in more than 500 magazines, journals, and anthologies since the early 70s, including The New Criterion, The New York Times, The Threepenny Review, The American Scholar, The Progressive, Poetry Northwest, Salmagundi, The Literary Review, The Sun, The American Journal of Poetry, Poet Lore, Poetry East, The Hampden-Sydney Poetry Review, The Journal of the American Medical Association, and Free Verse. He is the author of Beautiful Day (Deerbrook Editions), Won’t Be Long (Deerbrook Editions),  Heart’s Content (Five Oaks Press), Invisible (nominated for the Pulitzer Prize by Five Oaks Press), The Black Birch (Kelsay Books), I, Emily Dickinson & Other Found Poems (Deerbrook Editions), In Short Order (Kelsay Books), Tomorrow, Today and Yesterday (Deerbrook Editions), True Enough  (Dos Madres Press), The Jewish Dancing Master (Ravenna Press), If You Should See Me Walking on the Road (Kelsay Books), In a Public Place (Dos Madres Press), To Say the Least (Dos Madres Press), The Time of Your Life (Adelaide Books), The Porch Poems (Deerbrook Editions , 2020 Shelf Unbound Notable Indie Book), Enjoy Yourself (Serving House Books), Piano Music (nominated for the Pulitzer Prize by Serving House Books),  For All I Know (Kelsay Books), A Guide of the Perplexed (Serving House Books), The Moon Is the Capital of the World (Word Tech Communications), Years Later (Adelaide Books), The Dust (Dos Madres Press), Selected Poems 2002-2021(nominated for the National Book Award by Serving House Books), Life-Size (Kelsay Books), The Five Notebooks of Zhao Li (Adelaide Books), Coming To (Word Tech Communications), and coauthor with his wife Joan I. Siegel of Peach Girl: Poems for a Chinese Daughter (Grayson Books). He lives in the Hudson Valley.

Robert Beveridge
Crab Boil

J.R. Solonche
How Beautifully the Lilacs Lie