Sunday, September 4, 2016

Poetry Sunday: To the Light of September

It's a long, long way from May to December, but the days get shorter as we reach September, as the lyricist Maxwell Anderson observed in "September Song." 

The days get shorter as the sun starts its trek south, and the quality of the light changes. It becomes softer somehow. Even though our days are still hot, the sun seems a bit more benevolent now, especially in early morning and late afternoon. 

W.S. Merwin attempted to describe that quality of the light that comes with this time of year in his poem.

To the Light of September

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When you are already here 
you appear to be only 
a name that tells of you 
whether you are present or not 

and for now it seems as though 
you are still summer 
still the high familiar 
endless summer 
yet with a glint 
of bronze in the chill mornings 
and the late yellow petals 
of the mullein fluttering 
on the stalks that lean 
over their broken 
shadows across the cracked ground 

but they all know 
that you have come 
the seed heads of the sage 
the whispering birds 
with nowhere to hide you 
to keep you for later 

you 
who fly with them 

you who are neither 
before nor after 
you who arrive 
with blue plums 
that have fallen through the night 

perfect in the dew

6 comments:

  1. Wonderful poem. I also once wrote a song about the changing slant of the light, using it as a metaphor for the change in a friendship that was on the rocks.

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    1. What an interesting idea. It's the time of year when changes are all around us, but sometimes they are so subtle that we don't see them. Kind of like some friendships, I guess.

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