One of the flowers associated with August is the poppy.
Below – Karen Margulis: “Field of Red Poppies”
In 8 BCE, the month Sextilis was renamed in honor of Emperor Augustus.
Below – “Augustus of Prima Porta” (marble)
“August rain: the best of the summer gone, and the new fall not yet born. The odd uneven time.”
Below – Magdalena Morey: “Summer Rain 2”
by Mary Oliver
August of another summer, and once again
I am drinking the sun
and the lilies again are spread across the water.
I know now what they want is to touch each other.
I have not been here for many years
during which time I kept living my life.
Like the heron, who can only croak, who wishes he
I wish I could sing.
A little thanks from every throat would be appropriate.
This is how it has been, and this is how it is:
All my life I have been able to feel happiness,
except whatever was not happiness,
which I also remember.
Each of us wears a shadow.
But just now it is summer again
and I am watching the lilies bow to each other,
then slide on the wind and the tug of desire,
close, close to one another,
Soon now, I’ll turn and start for home.
And who knows, maybe I’ll be singing.”
Below – Olha Darchuk: “Pond Lilies”
“The children start school now in August. They say it has to do with air-conditioning, but I know sadism when I see it.”
Below – “A Legend of Florence”; “A Bunch of Flowers”; “Scene from Love’s Labors Lost”; “Four corners to my bed”; “The Kiss of the Enchantress”; “The Magic Mantle.”
“If you saw a heat wave, would you wave back?”
Below – “Landscape near Brill”; “Hoxne Post Mill”; “Hoxne”; “A Young Girl Playing Her Piano”; “Putting on the Slipper.”
Art for August – George A. Weymouth: “August”
“August is a gentle reminder for not doing a single thing from your new year resolution for seven months and not doing it for next five.”
Art for August – Carolyn Lord Spring: “An August Garden”
by Mary Oliver
When the blackberries hang
swollen in the woods, in the brambles
nobody owns, I spend
all day among the high
my ripped arms, thinking
of nothing, cramming
the black honey of summer
into my mouth; all day my body
accepts what it is. In the dark
creeks that run by there is
this thick paw of my life darting among
the black bells, the leaves; there is
this happy tongue.
Art for August – Manuel Sosa: “Red Partridge in August”
“In August, the large masses of berries, which, when in flower, had attracted many wild bees, gradually assumed their bright velvety crimson hue, and by their weight again bent down and broke their tender limbs.”
Art for August – Anna Rose Bain: “August Sunrise”
Below – “Chicago Union Station, 1943”; “Roundhouse wipers at lunch, Clinton, Iowa, 1943”; “Chicago Railyards, 1942”; “Malaria poster in a small hotel, San Juan, Puerto Rico, 1941”; “Pledging Allegiance to the Flag in a School in Puerto Rico, 1946”; “Chicago Railroad Yard.”
Art for August – August Macke: “Tree in Cornfield”
by Theodore Roethke
Now as the train bears west,
Its rhythm rocks the earth,
And from my Pullman berth
I stare into the night
While others take their rest.
Bridges of iron lace,
A suddenness of trees,
A lap of mountain mist
All cross my line of sight,
Then a bleak wasted place,
And a lake below my knees.
Full on my neck I feel
The straining at a curve;
My muscles move with steel,
I wake in every nerve.
I watch a beacon swing
From dark to blazing bright;
We thunder through ravines
And gullies washed with light.
Beyond the mountain pass
Mist deepens on the pane;
We rush into a rain
That rattles double glass.
Wheels shake the roadbed stone,
The pistons jerk and shove,
I stay up half the night
To see the land I love.
“Did you know that a bee dies after he stings you? And that there’s a star called Aldebaran? And that around the tenth of August, any year, you can look up in the sky at night and see dozens and dozens of shooting stars?”
Below – The Perseid Meteor Shower, which will peak in 2018 on August 11 and 12.
“California Hills in August”
by Dana Gioia
I can imagine someone who found
these fields unbearable, who climbed
the hillside in the heat, cursing the dust,
cracking the brittle weeds underfoot,
wishing a few more trees for shade.
An Easterner especially, who would scorn
the meagerness of summer, the dry
twisted shapes of black elm,
scrub oak, and chaparral, a landscape
August has already drained of green.
One who would hurry over the clinging
thistle, foxtail, golden poppy,
knowing everything was just a weed,
unable to conceive that these trees
and sparse brown bushes were alive.
And hate the bright stillness of the noon
without wind, without motion,
the only other living thing
a hawk, hungry for prey, suspended
in the blinding, sunlit blue.
And yet how gentle it seems to someone
raised in a landscape short of rain ?
the skyline of a hill broken by no more
trees than one can count, the grass,
the empty sky, the wish for water.
Some quotes from the work of Hermann Melville:
“Call me Ishmael.”
“We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men; and among those fibers, as sympathetic threads, our actions run as causes, and they come back to us as effects.”
“Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people’s hats off – then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can.”
“No philosophers so thoroughly comprehend us as dogs and horses.”
“Queequeg was a native of Kokovoko, an island far away to the West and South. It is not down in any map; true places never are.”
“I know not all that may be coming, but be it what it will, I’ll go to it laughing.”
Art for August – Emile Claus: “The End of August”
“Every year, the bright Scandinavian summer nights fade without anyone’s noticing. One evening in August you have an errand outdoors, and all of a sudden it’s pitch-black. It is still summer, but the summer is no longer alive.”
This Date in At History: Died 1 August 1938 – Edmund C. Tarbell, an American painter.
Below – “In the Orchard”; “Lady with a Corsage”; “Mother and Child in a Boat”; “The Sisters”; “Reverie”; “Preparing for the Matinee.”
Art for August – Brent Heighton: “August Wind”
“Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability.”
Below – Gustave Courbet: “Le Reve (The Hammock)”
A Poem for August
by Elizabeth Maua Taylor
August rushes by like desert rainfall,
A flood of frenzied upheaval,
But still catching me unprepared.
Like a match flame
Bursting on the scene,
Heat and haze of crimson sunsets.
Like a dream
Of moon and dark barely recalled,
Shadows caught in a blink.
Like a quick kiss;
One wishes for more
But it suddenly turns to leave,
Dragging summer away.
Below – Charlene Fuhrman-Schulz: “Hazy Lazy Sunset”
“This was one of those perfect New England days in late summer where the spirit of autumn takes a first stealing flight, like a spy, through the ripening country-side, and, with feigned sympathy for those who droop with August heat, puts her cool cloak of bracing air about leaf and flower and human shoulders.”
Below – Milton Avery: “Lakeside Trees”
Art for August – Judith Bridgland: “August Flowers at Rinagree”
Welcome, Wonderful August
Below – William Godward: “Summer Flowers”