Sunday, August 29, 2010

As August sidles into September

The gates of summer, once open wide like the arms of absent friends
begin to close, haltingly, with rusty hinges creaking in cool mornings.
The fireflies that rose in steaming clouds from humid backyard lawns
have disappeared overnight as though deported to another country,
leaving thrumming cicadas overhead, pulsing like high voltage wires.
Now great baskets of tomatoes, sunset crimson and dusky orange,
delicate raspberries, their jeweled caps painting picking fingers purple,
with seed like tiny pearls, sweet and tart with days of rain and sun,
await the sauce pots and canning jars to hold their garnet ripening.......

Holin Kennen
Summer's End  an excerpt

I was so very touched by the above words, and they awakened such wonderful memories and images in my mind - tried to contact the poet for permission to reprint, but my efforts were in vain.
I have included as much information as I can about her bio, and provide the above link which will take you there.

Summer is saying her prolonged farewells and the garden has shaded her eyes, watching for fall to touch the tops of the hills and slide on down into the valley, trailing gold and scarlet in its wake.

Since the last diary entry the glory of the gorgeous white phlox has faded, but for most of August it was a wonderful flower to place on the altar each Sunday and pass along to gardenless people when the service was over.

The bee balm are weary with the summer's dance, - their bright red tutus are tattered and torn and they droop their heavy heads.  As a consolation the fragrant sweet peas have climbed the obelisk at whose base they were planted and proclaim to the world and its olfactory senses how beautiful they are and how perfectly yummy they smell!

The second flush of roses is fading somewhat, but they have been quite beautiful in the last two weeks, - especially the Abraham Darby and the little 'grocery store' roses.

The climbers have all given late summer the nod, and are blooming profusely.

The delphiniums and one solitary oriental poppy have recovered from their June orgy and are making another appearance on stage.

Down the road Charles tends his row of curly willows and they have responded with enthusiastic growth and the promise of a wonderful green hedge to line the driveway.

On the other side of the lane Caspar and I peer into the leafy dimness of the orchard, lit by ripening apples hanging like small gold and crimson lanterns.

The morning glory vine spreads along the side of the garage and holds court before noon and its afternoon nap.

But when all is said and done it is the time when the sunflower is seen in the land, nodding its golden head in varied corners and fields, along roadways and in the middle of gardens, - wherever its abundant and fertile seed has fallen it seizes the opportunity to bring sunshine to late summer days.

I walk out on to the deck and startle a dozen or so gold and rosy breasted finches, interrupting their breakfast at the Sunflower Bar and Grill.  They rise into the air and fly off to take cover in the curly willow.

Last week a full moon shone down on the garden

and in the daytime smoke drifted down from the wildfire west of town

Here is the sedum, preparing for September days, - the bees eagerly anticipating full bloom and full tummies.

Every summer
I listen and look
under the sun's brass and even
into the moonlight, but I can't hear

anything.  I can't see anyting -
not the pale roots digging down, nor the green
stalks muscling up, 
nor the leaves
deepening their damp pleats,

nor the tassels making
nor the shucks, nor the cobs.
And still,
every day,

the leafy fields
grow taller and thicker -
green gowns lofting up in the night,
showered with silk.

And so, every summer,
I fail as a witness, seeing nothing -
I am deaf too
to the tick of the leaves,

The tapping downwardness from the banyan feet -
all of it
beyond any seeable proof, or hearable hum.

And therefore, let the immeasurable come,
Let the unknowable touch the buckle of my spine.
Let the wind turn in the trees,
and the mystery hiding in the dirt

swing through the air.
How could I look at anything in this world
and tremble, and grip my hands over my heart?
What should I fear?

One morning
in the leafy green ocean
the honeycomb of the corn's beautiful body
is sure to be there.

Mary Oliver
Little Summer Poem Touching The Subject of Faith


Wanda..... said...

I fill blessed after reading such a lovely post Hildred and not just from the poems, but your words too!

Hildred and Charles said...

Thank you Wanda, - I love the first poem for the memories it raises of the years of big gardens and canning and freezing and pickling and children and all the joys of those years, - and the Mary Oliver for the wonderful allusions to faith.