Saturday, September 19, 2009

Poetic thoughts for September's New Moon

(Photo taken by me at Brushwood Folkore Center in Sherman, NY in September 2008)

September, like the advent of school, seems to arrive determined to educate us in the ways of deja vu and that most human emotion of melancholy. The days and nights struggle for balance as the equinox approaches: between light and dark, cold and warmth, color and sere greyness. I crave words that will make sense of it all and often find myself scribbling bits of verse or seeking out obscure and near-forgotten prose and poems. John Updike, one of my favorite writers, was my thoughts this week when a New England friend mentioned that her close friend is his daughter. Reading The Widows of Eastwick a few months ago, not knowing Updike was struggling with cancer, I found myself thinking more than once that this might be his last novel, and it was.

Updike studied to be a painter before he became a writer, and his novels and other writings overflow with stunning, thoughtful imagery. Like this short piece, called "September."

The breezes taste
Of apple peel.
The air is full
Of smells to feel-
Ripe fruit, old footballs,
Burning brush,
New books, erasers,
Chalk, and such.
The bee, his hive,
Well-honeyed hum,
And Mother cuts
Like plates washed clean
With suds, the days
Are polished with
A morning haze.

Wordsworth also wrote a poem called "September":

Departing summer hath assumed
An aspect tenderly illumed,
The gentlest look of spring;
That calls from yonder leafy shade
Unfaded, yet prepared to fade,
A timely carolling.

And this piece by Thomas Parsons captures the unique happy melancholy of the month:

Sorrow and scarlet leaf,
Sad thoughts and sunny weather.
Ah me, this glory and this grief
Agree not well together!

- "A Song For September"

And these endlessly evocative words that I was compelled to sing one morning this week to greet the blue-gold day:

Try to remember the kind of September
When life was slow and oh so mellow
Try to remember the kind of September
When grass was green and grain so yellow
Try to remember the kind of September
When you were a young and a callow fellow
Try to remember and if you remember
Then follow...

- Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt

Want to read more? Check out one of my favorite websites for quotes about nature and the seasons.