Masks — A Poem for Halloween



What will you wear for Halloween?

The trees are changing faces, and the

rough chins of chestnut burrs

grimace and break to show their

sleek brown centers.  The hills

have lost their mask of green and grain,

settled into a firmer geometry

of uncolored line and curve.


Which face will you say is true—

the luminous trees or the branches underneath?

The green husks of walnuts, the shell within,

or the nut curled intimately inside,

sheltered like a brain within its casing?


Be careful with what you know,

with what you think you see.

Moment by moment faces shift,

masks lift and fall again, repainted

to a different scene.  It means,

the cynics say, there is no truth,

no constant to give order to the great equation.


Meanwhile, the trees, leaf by leaf,

are telling stories inevitably true:

Green.  Gold.  Vermillion.  Brown.

The lace of veins remaining

as each cell returns to soil.



Lynn Ungar’s book of poetry, Bread and Other Miracles, is available at

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