Prismatic mystery

A personal prosery prompt

I am certainly not one to stop and smell the flowers, let alone photograph them, but several weeks ago a tree beckoned at me, its leaves purple at the top, flaming in the middle, and healthy green below. How beautifully leaves grow old, how full of light and color.

‘Are their last days painless?’ wondered I.

“Purple leaves,” asked I, “are you feeling any discomfort?” But the purple leaves were too far gone to respond.

“Orange leaves,” tried I, “you too are darkening. Are you distressed?” But those bashful ones were blushing too fiercely to give heed.

Finally, turned I to the hearty green leaves. “Green leaves, look at your siblings’ fiery glow. They are burning out, just as you will. Are you… at peace?” The green leaves rustled at me, but I could not make out their hushful mouthings through the Autumn breeze.


d’Verse is taking a break for the holidays so there won’t be any prompts for a while…

So I’ll be trying out some prompts born of my mind instead!

I considered the idea of responding to prompts from other groups, but d’Verse satisfies my creative curiosity more than well enough – and I don’t want to spend all of my time responding to poetry prompts.


The rules of prosery are simple:

  1. Use an assigned line in the body of your prose. You may change the punctuation and capitalization, but you are not allowed to insert any words within the line itself. You can add words at the beginning and/or at the end of the line; but the line itself must remain intact.
  2. Your prose can be either flash fiction, nonfiction, or creative nonfiction. YOU CAN NOT WRITE A POEM for this prompt. AND, your prose should be no longer than 144 words, sans title. It does not have to be exactly 144 words. But it can be no longer than 144 words.

The line I assigned myself was:

How beautifully leaves grow old. How full of light and color are their last days.

John Burroughs (1837 – 1921)

I came across this quote, inspired by the above photograph that I took several weeks ago at a local park in Jerusalem. As I wrote in the prosery piece, ‘I am not one to stop and smell the flowers, let alone photograph them’, but the prismatic colors of the changed and changing leaves moved me rather unexpectedly to capture those vivid traces of time.

55 thoughts on “Prismatic mystery”

  1. That was a nice post. One prompt I like is my Flashback Friday post – just because they remind me that I am on a journey… It is often quite revealing to rediscover old posts.

      1. You just repost something “on this day, in a year gone by”. He has some funny alternative for < 1yr, I think it it "on this date of the month".
        I aim just for one close – it's only, really, this last year that I started posting more regularly. And, certainly when I started, it was far more about my own medical stuff. But, you know, I can look back at all that and see how the nature of the blog has changed over time.
        I'm not sure anyone else gets much value out of it but it helps me to see progress.

  2. Oh wow!!! I love this one… unexpected combo, beautifully written, and also to see the weather and season in Jerusalem, which is quite different from here in Canada. And cool prompt idea… 👌✨

  3. I love trees. And Nature. And can’t help but enjoy a verse or text so well composed about trees and leaves and the changes in Nature as the days pass. Listening to the leaves. Well done, David.

  4. Very interesting questions: reminds me of being taught by my gr grandmother not to mistreat plants/leaves as I walked outdoors.

  5. lovely metaphor for us humans. the green ones are too busy enjoying life except to rustle a hasty answer and get on with it. You’re going to be a pro with these prompts by the time we reconvene 🙂

    1. Thanks, Cindy!

      I’m really not one to stop and take photographs ever (unlike my Dad who was never without his camera, as you can see in the banner at the top of my blog)… but this was really, really beautiful.

      -David

  6. This is very beautiful visualization of the leaves changing colours in autumn David. I was reading somewhere that the leaves turn red to feed nutrients to the tree to enable it to endure the oncoming winter. The red leaves also likely absorb more sunlight keeping the tree warm.
    The way I see it is, as we progress from youth to adulthood and old age, we stop being playful and start working more and more to make things better for the next generations.
    Maybe that’s what is with the tree leaves you saw, the green ones are young and full of energy of youth, while the ones above have progressively given more of their life energy towards making things better for the next generations and their home 🙂

  7. Beautiful post, David! ❤ It is wonderful the empathy you show the dying leaves. 🙂 I think it is because you are a genuinely empathetic person that you were able to compose these beautiful lines!

  8. Creative expansion of Burroughs’ line and nice photo of a beautiful tree. I like how you developed the idea of different colors representing different life stages and your conversation with the leaves had descriptive adjectives. Entertaining write!

    1. Thanks, Michele 🙂

      You know, when I limit myself (in this case to 144 words), it really forces me to think about which words are important. It’s a very interesting exercise!

      -David

  9. This is wonderful ben, and absolutely heart-warming to read that you have taken to speak to trees. I hope that this won’t be your last rendevous with nature, in particular the flowers and tge trees, oh but the grass, the long and the reeds have their own verse and lines to inspire you or prompt prosery, truly they have called you. I feel a flower or nature whisperer flowing tgrought these lines. The personification of colour and petals is a masterstroke.
    Now those green ones, you better get them to speak.

    1. Don’t get your hopes up too much, Abi… I’m not usually one to go around photographing anything. That was my father’s passion – he never went anywhere without his camera (you can see him with his camera in the banner at the top of my blog).

      Thank you❣️
      David

      1. Oh i never lose hope my dear. Hope is an ever present guide and teacher.
        Yes i thought that the man holding the camera is your dad. Hopefully you will venture out more with your camera as another arm for your poetry.

  10. Yes, I agree with so many comments..the image is beautiful and it shows me you have the soul of a poet..prompt or no prompt, the picture spoke to you. It made you ask questions and it produced this deep and sensitive concern about how the leaves might be taking their different stages…Is their a pang of envy from the purple leaves..or are they now all almost saints, are the green leaves wasting their youth? This poetic thought, because it is poetic, is beautiful. One out of a very few would see in those color striations, a deeper meaning to Life in all its forms…

  11. I love what you did with this David! The leaves speaking with different voices, just like all of us in our ongoing stages of life! Well done!
    I will choose to be the colorful leaf rather than just dry up, turn brown, and blow away!!
    Dwight

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