WELCOMING SEPTEMBER – PART I of II
“Happily we bask in this warm September sun,
Which illuminates all creatures…” – Henry David Thoreau
Below – “September Sunshine,” by George Dunlop Leslie
Welcoming September with Song – Part I of VII: “September Morn,” by Neil Diamond
Welcoming September with Art – Part I of VII: “September Morn”
“September Morn,” painted by French artist Paul Emile Chabas (1869-1937), is easily the most famous – and notorious – September-themed painting in the history of art, thanks to a pair of American buffoons. In the words of one historian, “Chabas first exhibited the painting in the Paris Salon of 1912, where it won a medal but did not create any sensation. The next year, when it was displayed in a window of an art gallery in Chicago, Illinois, it came to the attention of the mayor of the city, Carter Harrison, Jr., who charged the owner of the gallery with indecency. The resulting court case, which the art dealer won, made the painting famous.
Two months after the conclusion of the Chicago trial, Anthony Comstock (1844–1915), a self-appointed crusader against ‘vice,’ threatened a New York City art dealer who was displaying the painting in his window. However, Comstock never followed up this threat with legal action.”
Welcoming September with Poetry – Part I of VII: John Updike
The breezes taste
Of apple peel.
The air is full
Of smells to feel-
Ripe fruit, old footballs,
New books, erasers,
Chalk, and such.
The bee, his hive,
And Mother cuts
Like plates washed clean
With suds, the days
Are polished with
A morning haze.
Welcoming September with Song – Part II of VII: “Try to Remember,” by Jerry Orbach
Welcoming September with Art – Part II of VII: “September: River’s Edge,” by Nicola Wiehahn
Welcoming September with Poetry – Part II of VII: Emily Dickinson
“The Last of Summer is Delight”
The last of Summer is Delight —
Deterred by Retrospect.
‘Tis Ecstasy’s revealed Review —
To meet it — nameless as it is —
Without celestial Mail —
Audacious as without a Knock
To walk within the Veil.
Welcoming September with Song – Part III of VII: “The Late September Dogs,” by Melissa Etheridge
Welcoming September with Art – Part III of VII: “Colorado in September,” by Debbie Lewis
Welcoming September with Poetry – Part III of VII: Edward Dowden
SPRING scarce had greener fields to show than these
Of mid September; through the still warm noon
The rivulets ripple forth a gladder tune
Than ever in the summer; from the trees
Dusk-green, and murmuring inward melodies,
No leaf drops yet; only our evenings swoon
In pallid skies more suddenly, and the moon
Finds motionless white mists out on the leas.
Dear chance it were in some rough wood-god’s lair
A month hence, gazing on the last bright field,
To sink o’er-drowsed, and dream that wild-flowers blew Around my head and feet silently there,
Till Spring’s glad choir adown the valley pealed,
And violets trembled in the morning dew.
Welcoming September with Song – Part IV of VII: “September Gurls,” by Big Star
Welcoming September with Art – Part IV of VII: “Golden September,” by Du Yuxi
Welcoming September with Poetry – Part IV of VII: Amy Lowell
This afternoon was the colour of water falling through sunlight;
The trees glittered with the tumbling of leaves;
The sidewalks shone like alleys of dropped maple leaves,
And the houses ran along them laughing out of square, open windows.
Under a tree in the park,
Two little boys, lying flat on their faces,
Were carefully gathering red berries
To put in a pasteboard box.
Some day there will be no war,
Then I shall take out this afternoon
And turn it in my fingers,
And remark the sweet taste of it upon my palate,
And note the crisp variety of its flights of leaves.
To-day I can only gather it
And put it into my lunch-box,
For I have time for nothing
But the endeavour to balance myself
Upon a broken world.
Welcoming September with Song – Part V of VII: “September Song,” by Willie Nelson
Welcoming September with Art – Part V of VII: “Greenwood Lake in September,” by Jasper Francis Cropsey
Welcoming September with Poetry – Part V of VII: Charlotte Ballard
“The Maple Dances”
Tangled branches of
Wrinkle crisp lines
In the September air.
Black robins bobbing,
From summer coarsen throats
A solitary song.
Welcoming September with Song – Part VI of VII: “September,” by Chris Daughtry
Welcoming September with Art – Part VI of VII: “September,” by John Elwyn.
Welcoming September with Poetry – Part VI of VII: Emily Dickinson
A combination is Of Crickets — Crows — and Retrospects
And a dissembling Breeze
That hints without assuming —
An Innuendo sear
That makes the Heart put up its Fun
And turn Philosopher.”
Welcoming September with Song – Part VII of VII: “September Grass,” by James Taylor
Welcoming September with Art – Part VII of VII: “A Late September Gale, Georgian Bay,” by Arthur Lismer.
Welcoming September with Poetry – Part VII of VII: Theodore Roethke
“The Far Field”
I dream of journeys repeatedly:
Of flying like a bat deep into a narrowing tunnel
Of driving alone, without luggage, out a long peninsula,
The road lined with snow-laden second growth,
A fine dry snow ticking the windshield,
Alternate snow and sleet, no on-coming traffic,
And no lights behind, in the blurred side-mirror,
The road changing from glazed tarface to a rubble of stone,
Ending at last in a hopeless sand-rut,
Where the car stalls,
Churning in a snowdrift
Until the headlights darken.
At the field’s end, in the corner missed by the mower,
Where the turf drops off into a grass-hidden culvert,
Haunt of the cat-bird, nesting-place of the field-mouse,
Not too far away from the ever-changing flower-dump,
Among the tin cans, tires, rusted pipes, broken machinery, —
One learned of the eternal;
And in the shrunken face of a dead rat, eaten by rain and ground-beetles
(I found in lying among the rubble of an old coal bin)
And the tom-cat, caught near the pheasant-run,
Its entrails strewn over the half-grown flowers,
Blasted to death by the night watchman.
I suffered for young birds, for young rabbits caught in the mower,
My grief was not excessive.
For to come upon warblers in early May
Was to forget time and death:
How they filled the oriole’s elm, a twittering restless cloud, all one morning,
And I watched and watched till my eyes blurred from the bird shapes, —
Cape May, Blackburnian, Cerulean, —
Moving, elusive as fish, fearless,
Hanging, bunched like young fruit, bending the end branches,
Still for a moment,
Then pitching away in half-flight,
Lighter than finches,
While the wrens bickered and sang in the half-green hedgerows,
And the flicker drummed from his dead tree in the chicken-yard.
— Or to lie naked in sand,
In the silted shallows of a slow river,
Fingering a shell,
Once I was something like this, mindless,
Or perhaps with another mind, less peculiar;
Or to sink down to the hips in a mossy quagmire;
Or, with skinny knees, to sit astride a wet log,
I’ll return again,
As a snake or a raucous bird,
Or, with luck, as a lion.
I learned not to fear infinity,
The far field, the windy cliffs of forever,
The dying of time in the white light of tomorrow,
The wheel turning away from itself,
The sprawl of the wave,
The on-coming water.
The river turns on itself,
The tree retreats into its own shadow.
I feel a weightless change, a moving forward
As of water quickening before a narrowing channel
When banks converge, and the wide river whitens;
Or when two rivers combine, the blue glacial torrent
And the yellowish-green from the mountainy upland, —
At first a swift rippling between rocks,
Then a long running over flat stones
Before descending to the alluvial plane,
To the clay banks, and the wild grapes hanging from the elmtrees.
The slightly trembling water
Dropping a fine yellow silt where the sun stays;
And the crabs bask near the edge,
The weedy edge, alive with small snakes and bloodsuckers, —
I have come to a still, but not a deep center,
A point outside the glittering current;
My eyes stare at the bottom of a river,
At the irregular stones, iridescent sandgrains,
My mind moves in more than one place,
In a country half-land, half-water.
I am renewed by death, thought of my death,
The dry scent of a dying garden in September,
The wind fanning the ash of a low fire.
What I love is near at hand,
Always, in earth and air.
The lost self changes,
Turning toward the sea,
A sea-shape turning around, —
An old man with his feet before the fire,
In robes of green, in garments of adieu.
A man faced with his own immensity
Wakes all the waves, all their loose wandering fire.
The murmur of the absolute, the why
Of being born falls on his naked ears.
His spirit moves like monumental wind
That gentles on a sunny blue plateau.
He is the end of things, the final man.
All finite things reveal infinitude:
The mountain with its singular bright shade
Like the blue shine on freshly frozen snow,
The after-light upon ice-burdened pines;
Odor of basswood on a mountain-slope,
A scent beloved of bees;
Silence of water above a sunken tree :
The pure serene of memory in one man, —
A ripple widening from a single stone
Winding around the waters of the world.
WELCOMING SEPTEMBER – PART II of II
“September: it was the most beautiful of words, he’d always felt, evoking orange-flowers, swallows, and regret.” - Alexander Theroux