December Leaves

December has arrived and the backyard here at Artland in Nashville is filling up with wet leaves. The rains have also arrived. We’ve been in a bit of a drought which has been unusual and everyone is thankful for the rain. Last December in 2015 I wrote a short poem about the leaves after having raked them up just before the New Year. My arms were tired but I was able to scribble a few lines down. The sound of the rake pulling the leaves across the thinning grass can sound like percussion, a scraping after an initial strike. A rhythm can start to happen and even raking the wet December leaves can be enjoyable as the music starts to happen. It’s like a December dance. Here is my poem, “December Leaves.”

December leaves are wet and heavy,

Your arms and rake have to work a little bit harder.

December leaves are finished falling,

They just about cover the entire yard.

December leaves the trees so bare,

The winter wind blows a little bit easier.

December leaves fill the wheelbarrow,

January will be happy when December leaves.


This wheelbarrow always makes me think of William Carlos Williams though it’s not red and there aren’t any white chickens, in fact there aren’t any chickens within earshot. The wheelbarrow was discovered under the house in the crawlspace and I’ve depended on it ever since. The wheel has a slow leak and I’ve tried repairing it with fix-a-flat but to no avail. So every other use has a need for air from the bicycle pump. I like being in the outdoors even if it’s just in the backyard and I don’t see raking leaves as a chore but an opportunity to be outside.

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  1. This post made me think of rhythms. Rain on a roof. Train on a track… sweep of a broom…and the opportunity this affords the mind to sit.
    I’ve always been out of step, autistism creates its own music to dance to, but I sense the heavy heart and the featherlight. Being outside is wonderful, and there is never bad weather, just the wrong choice of clothes! Mike and I camped in Suffolk in September with our dogs, it was glorious, sea swimming, long walks and campfire cups of tea! Looking forward to seeing you next year Mr. Billy Kemp. Fiona and Mike x

  2. Hey Billy Now put this poem to music add your harp let me purchase it and I’ll be happy as a fan in Fell’s Point dancing the night away as you bow and smile. God’s blessings and Peace my friends..Miss your talent Janis from Catonsville but now in York Pa.

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