Last year I discovered a wonderful writer named Paris Leary. His completely unknown, hard-to-find 1963 novel The Innocent Curate deserves to be a classic of religious fiction. He also edited an anthology of modern poetry called A Controversy of Poets (surely the best title for such a book I've ever heard), which includes this by Leary himself:
Views of The Oxford Colleges
There are no red leaves in yellow Oxford,
no acrid scent of red leaves burning
on wet grass waiting to be brown.
At night the coal-smoke settling on the town
brought the small sky closer, and the turning
of the earth numbed the keys in awkward locks.
Moisture logs the print of Christâs scorched shadow
sagging from the frost-crippled altar
where the breath rimes the chalice with a touch
of cold humanity and snaps with such
frozen Amens that fingers smart and falter
in their chilled blessing over silent bread.
A ragged cat with yellow dignity
moves like a stone along a ragged wall
and vanishes from sight by standing still.
But the season will not change for me until
I walk ankle-deep through the blazing fall
and watch the wind blow the sun away.
For though the summer rose in me in Ludlow,
and though a second autumn pales me here,
yet always it is Tilbury Town that rises
round me where the Cherwell and the Isis
swell gently with the custom of the year.
It is too many years until the snow.
Christ in sacrifice leans dangerously
from the chipped wall, his broken nose
and powdered eyes brutal with centuries.
Leaves drop like jaundiced blood from chestnut trees
but, falling where the feeble morning rose,
scatter mercy down the thin lame streetâ
and in that part of mind where I am youngest
sumac bleeds and crimson cracks like thunder
through maples incandescent with the reason
there are no red leaves this yellow season;
and I, admiring Magdalen Tower, wonder
how the age has scraped Christâs blood from everything.