Sentient in San Francisco – 22 September 2019: The Last Day of Summer

Musings on the Last Day of Summer: Bernard Williams

“September tries its best to have us forget summer.”


Art for the Last Day of Summer – Anna Zee: “the last day of summer”


Musings on the Last Day of Summer: Helen Hunt Jackson

“By all these lovely tokens September days are here, with summer’s best of weather and autumn’s best of cheer.”

Art for the Last Day of Summer – Gregory Radionov: “last day of summer”


A Poem for the Last Day of Summer

“Something Told the Wild Geese”
by Rachel Field

Something told the wild geese
It was time to go.
Though the fields lay golden
Something whispered,—‘Snow.’
Leaves were green and stirring,
Berries, luster-glossed,
But beneath warm feathers
Something cautioned,—‘Frost.’
All the sagging orchards
Steamed with amber spice,
But each wild breast stiffened
At remembered ice.
Something told the wild geese
It was time to fly,—
Summer sun was on their wings,
Winter in their cry.


Art for the Last Day of Summer – Edward Hopper: “Cape Cod Evening”

Musings on the Last Day of Summer: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

“Gone are the birds that were our summer guests.”

Below – Sean Taber: “Empty Nest”


Art for the Last Day of Summer – Pam Tuggle: “Dreaming of a Perfect Summer Day”


Musings on the Last Day of Summer: Raquel Franco

“And then the sun took a step back, the leaves lulled themselves to sleep and Autumn was awaked.”

Art for the Last Day of Summer – John Singer Sargent: “Lady and Child Asleep under the Willows”


A Poem for the Last Day of Summer

“As imperceptibly as Grief”
by Emily Dickinson

As imperceptibly as Grief
The Summer lapsed away —
Too imperceptible at last
To seem like Perfidy —

A Quietness distilled
As Twilight long begun,
Or Nature spending with herself
Sequestered Afternoon —

The Dusk drew earlier in —
The Morning foreign shone —
A courteous, yet harrowing Grace,
As Guest, that would be gone —

And thus, without a Wing
Or service of a Keel
Our Summer made her light escape
Into the Beautiful.

Art for the Last Day of Summer – Melanie McDonald: “The Last Day of Summer”

Musings on the Last Day of Summer Dodie Smith:

“Why is summer mist romantic and autumn mist just sad?”

Art for the Last Day of Summer – Rose Garland: “The Spirit of Hope”

Musings on the Last Day of Summer: Ann Packet

“To say it was a beautiful day would not begin to explain it. It was that day when the end of summer intersects perfectly with the start of fall.”

Art for the Last Day of Summer – Victor Bauer: “The Last Day of Summer”

A Poem for the End of Summer

“When summer’s end is nighing”
By A. E. Housman

When summer’s end is nighing
And skies at evening cloud,
I muse on change and fortune
And all the feats I vowed
When I was young and proud.

The weathercock at sunset
Would lose the slanted ray,
And I would climb the beacon
That looked to Wales away
And saw the last of day.

From hill and cloud and heaven
The hues of evening died;
Night welled through lane and hollow
And hushed the countryside,
But I had youth and pride.

And I with earth and nightfall
In converse high would stand,
Late, till the west was ashen
And darkness hard at hand,
And the eye lost the land.

The year might age, and cloudy
The lessening day might close,
But air of other summers
Breathed from beyond the snows,
And I had hope of those.

They came and were and are not
And come no more anew;
And all the years and seasons
That ever can ensue
Must now be worse and few.

So here’s an end of roaming
On eves when autumn nighs:
The ear too fondly listens
For summer’s parting sighs,
And then the heart replies.

Art for the Last Day of Summer – Pablo Picasso: “Summer landscape”


Musings on the Last Day of Summer: Oscar Wilde

“All at once, summer collapsed into fall.”


Art for the Last Day of Summer – Frederick Church: “Twilight in the Wilderness”

Musings on the Last Day of Summer: Sarah Helen Whitman

“When summer gathers up her robes of glory, And, like a dream, glides away.”

Art for the Last Day of Summer – Pierre-Auguste Renoir: “Summer Landscape (Woman with a Parasol in a Garden)”


A Poem for the Last Day of Summer

“The End of Summer”
by Rachel Hadas

Sweet smell of phlox drifting across the lawn—
an early warning of the end of summer.
August is fading fast, and by September
the little purple flowers will all be gone.

Season, project, and vacation done.
One more year in everybody’s life.
Add a notch to the old hunting knife
Time keeps testing with a horny thumb.

Over the summer months hung an unspoken
aura of urgency. In late July
galactic pulsings filled the midnight sky
like silent screaming, so that, strangely woken,

we looked at one another in the dark,
then at the milky magical debris
arcing across, dwarfing our meek mortality.
There were two ways to live: get on with work,

redeem the time, ignore the imminence
of cataclysm; or else take it slow,
be as tranquil as the neighbors’ cow
we love to tickle through the barbed wire fence
(she paces through her days in massive innocence,
or, seeing green pastures, we imagine so).

In fact, not being cows, we have no choice.
Summer or winter, country, city, we
are prisoners from the start and automatically,
hemmed in, harangued by the one clamorous voice.

Not light but language shocks us out of sleep
ideas of doom transformed to meteors
we translate back to portents of the wars
looming above the nervous watch we keep.

Art for the Last Day of Summer – Winslow Homer: “Summer Afternoon”

Musings on the Last Day of Summer: Henry Rollins

“We know that in September, we will wander through the warm winds of summer’s wreckage. We will welcome summer’s ghost.”

Art for the Last Day of Summer – Wlodzimierz Kuklinski: “last day of summer”

Musings on the Last Day of Summer: William Shakespeare

“And summer’s lease hath all too short a date.”

Art for the Last Day of Summer – John William Waterhouse: “Ophelia”

A Poem for the Last Day of Summer

“Three Songs at the End of Summer”
by Jane Kenyon

A second crop of hay lies cut
and turned. Five gleaming crows
search and peck between the rows.
They make a low, companionable squawk,
and like midwives and undertakers
possess a weird authority.

Crickets leap from the stubble,
parting before me like the Red Sea.
The garden sprawls and spoils.

Across the lake the campers have learned
to water ski. They have, or they haven’t.
Sounds of the instructor’s megaphone
suffuse the hazy air. “Relax! Relax!”

Cloud shadows rush over drying hay,
fences, dusty lane, and railroad ravine.
The first yellowing fronds of goldenrod
brighten the margins of the woods.

Schoolbooks, carpools, pleated skirts;
water, silver-still, and a vee of geese.

*

The cicada’s dry monotony breaks
over me. The days are bright
and free, bright and free.

Then why did I cry today
for an hour, with my whole
body, the way babies cry?

*

A white, indifferent morning sky,
and a crow, hectoring from its nest
high in the hemlock, a nest as big
as a laundry basket …
In my childhood
I stood under a dripping oak,
while autumnal fog eddied around my feet,
waiting for the school bus
with a dread that took my breath away.

The damp dirt road gave off
this same complex organic scent.

I had the new books—words, numbers,
and operations with numbers I did not
comprehend—and crayons, unspoiled
by use, in a blue canvas satchel
with red leather straps.

Spruce, inadequate, and alien
I stood at the side of the road.
It was the only life I had.

Art for the Last Day of Summer – Elena Sokolova: “The last day of summer”


Musings on the Last Day of Summer: George R. R. Martin

“Summer will end soon enough, and childhood as well.”

Art for the Last Day of Summer – Ann Krasikov: “”Last day of Summer”


Musings on the Last Day of Summer: Lao Tzu

“New beginnings are often disguised as painful endings.”

Art for the Last Day of Summer – Wang Hui: “View Across Streams and Mountains”

A Poem for the Last Day of Summer

“The Summer Day”
by Mary Oliver

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

Art for the Last Day of Summer – Anastasi Bodnar: “The last day of summer: Anticipation”

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