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The Poetry of Septembers

Updated: Sep 7, 2023


September brings out the poet in me. I can’t help it.

Maybe it’s the blessed lessening of the heat, maybe it’s the slant of the sun. Quite possibly it is because September is my birthday month and I am an adult now and don’t have to go to school. I am sorry for children these days starting school already in August. It’s a shame, I think. Those three months of summer vacation—beginning that last day when I stepped down out of the school bus into my own yard—felt like heaven.

But I was privileged to have my mother at home as well as my Grandma. My siblings—two brothers and a sister, all older than me—were not rushing off to baseball practice or music lessons or band rehearsals. We had our own small society just being at home and with friends on the neighboring farms for occasional visits. But, mostly, we were free to play in the barn and jump into the straw of the hayloft or coddle the kittens or swing on the rope swings my Grandpa hung from two tall pines. And read books. Oh, yes, read to our heart’s content, a whole summer-full.

We had healthy work, too. We weeded in the large garden, shelled peas on the back porch, snapped green beans, shucked the sweet corn for supper. My sister and I did the dishes and often sang together while one of us washed and the other dried. My brothers got up early to milk the cows and again in the evenings, being always attentive to thirsty cats by squirting milk straight from the cows’ teats into their yowling mouths. Sometimes, that backfired, and the cow would kick a hind leg, upsetting cat, bucket, and all.

But—I am straying. Such summers, maybe, were a kind of poetry in themselves. The freedom we had—within limits, like a poem—the color and texture of the sun-filled days or of the white billowing clouds or the sudden storms and lashing of the trees. Bare feet in green grass. The constant cackle of chickens in the background. A subconscious sense of well-being in an ordered home.

I come by the poetic tendency honestly. My dad, Grandpa, and aunt were poets. My Grandpa even self-published a slim volume, a copy of which I came across in a small shop decades after he had passed. The shop owner remembered him as a fine, upstanding man.

A year’s September ago, riding in a car along winding country roads in Germany, I jotted down what I was seeing out the window and wrote it up as a poem in German for our friend’s September birthday. It is simple, unpretentious. It doesn’t need interpreting or philosophizing, rather—"These things, these things were here and but the beholder wanting…” 1

Since I may not assume my readers know German, I translated my own poem into English, not as poetic, but most poetry is not translatable quite as the poet had in mind.

I may yet change a word or two, but for now, here is how it stands:


Out the Car Window: From Weissig to Freiberg


Cows pose on

sunny hillsides just waiting for

the artist

with country sensibilities and

a paintbrush

to hand.


Fields newly shorn and

golden with leftover summer

show themselves to

advantage

still useful

for

admiring.


Sunflowers nod

over stonewalls or along pasture lanes

performing their art

as if arranged by a charmed

and casual

eye.


Distant dark of green forests

rise against a cerulean

skyscape, where clouds

seem placed

just

exactly

so.


Red-tiled village rooftops

cluster in valleys as

church spires

lift the gaze

for

worship.


“Behold, to the Lord

your God

belong

heaven and the heaven

of heavens

and the earth

with all that is

in it.” 2


God, the master poet, created for our pleasure what we know as September.






1 Gerard Manley Hopkins, “Hurrahing in Harvest” (Here is masterful poetry from a master poet, my favorite. Well worth several readings.)

2 Deuteronomy 10:14






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9 comentarios


vivianhyatt
vivianhyatt
06 oct 2023

Dear Becky, I wish for you a September-ish October!

And how precious to have you mother's devotional book! Inspiring...

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rebekahloe
rebekahloe
06 oct 2023

I loved your post. It made me remember Europe and look forward to autumn in this Texas heat that claims even September as its summer. (A respite should come by mid-October.)


I read the following poem by Susan Coolidge in my mother's devotional this morning and thought of you.


Is it the Lord that shuts me in?

Then I can bear to wait!

No place so dark, no place so poor,

So strong and fast no prisoning door,

Though walled by grievous fate,

But out of it goes fair and broad

An unseen pathway, straight to God,

By which I mount to Thee.


We miss you and are praying for you.❤️


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vivianhyatt
vivianhyatt
06 sept 2023

Love your other quote from Hopkins! That's another of my favorite of his. I didn't know you read poetry!

And thank you for your kind words about September being my birthday month.

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Steve Oroszi
Steve Oroszi
06 sept 2023

The world is charged with the grandeur of God. - Gerald Manly Hopkins, God's Grandeur


And, as much as the Fall season isn't one of my favorites (third on that list right behind Summer and then Spring), I suspect that the pleasure we enjoy can also go for the month we call September - especially because it is the month of your birthday!

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vivianhyatt
vivianhyatt
05 sept 2023

Yes, it worked, thank you for trying!

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