On this date (April 2) recognized around the globe as World Autism Awareness Day, I’d like to remind readers of Barbara Crooker’s appropriate poem for the occasion, “Driving Under the Clerestory of Leaves,” which first appeared in the Fall/Winter 2002-2003 issue (Volume IV, Number 1) of Valparaiso Poetry Review.
UNDER THE CLERESTORY OF LEAVES
We drive to your special education preschool
under an arch of maples, half green, half turned to gold,
the dark branches bold as the ribs
of a great cathedral, flying buttresses
that bend the light.
You haven’t changed in the last two years,
developmentally delayed, mildly retarded,
school a struggle to stay in your seat,
say the beginnings of words,
point to colors and shapes.
While you wrestle with scissors,
daub with paste, I sit in the hallway,
trying to write, turn straw into gold.
When our two hours are spent,
we drive back up the hill toward home,
see the stand of mixed hardwoods
in full conflagration: red-gold, burnt orange,
blazing against the cobalt sky.
The architect who made these trees
was sleeping when he made this boy.
And my heart, like the leaves, burns & burns.
Readers also are invited to visit a previous post on “One Poet’s Notes” with poetry concerning this issue, “Autism and Poetry.”