A month in to fall and it really does now seem like Autumn — leaves are turning and falling, jackets have reappeared, brisk morning walks are now shrouded in darkness.
So, we turn to the first Poet Laureate of the United States of the new millenium — Stanley Kunitz, to remind us of Summer’s end. Kunitz was anointed Laureate at the age of ninety-five, and died six years later. His published works span almost eight decades of thoughtful creativity.
By Stanley Kunitz
– End of Summer
An agitation of the air,
A perturbation of the light
Admonished me the unloved year
Would turn on its hinge that night.
I stood in the disenchanted field
Amid the stubble and the stones,
Amazed, while a small worm lisped to me
The song of my marrow-bones.
Blue poured into summer blue,
A hawk broke from his cloudless tower,
The roof of the silo blazed, and I knew
That part of my life was over.
Already the iron door of the north
Clangs open: birds, leaves, snows
Order their populations forth,
And a cruel wind blows.
The Autumnal Equinox finally ushers in some cooler temperatures for the northern hemisphere, and with that we reflect on this most human of seasons courtesy of a poem by Archibald MacLeish.
By Archibald MacLeish:
– Immortal Autumn
I speak this poem now with grave and level voice
In praise of autumn, of the far-horn-winding fall.
I praise the flower-barren fields, the clouds, the tall
Unanswering branches where the wind makes sullen noise.
I praise the fall: it is the human season.
No more the foreign sun does meddle at our earth,
Enforce the green and bring the fallow land to birth,
Nor winter yet weigh all with silence the pine bough,
But now in autumn with the black and outcast crows
Share we the spacious world: the whispering year is gone:
There is more room to live now: the once secret dawn
Comes late by daylight and the dark unguarded goes.
Between the mutinous brave burning of the leaves
And winter’s covering of our hearts with his deep snow
We are alone: there are no evening birds: we know
The naked moon: the tame stars circle at our eaves.
It is the human season. On this sterile air
Do words outcarry breath: the sound goes on and on.
I hear a dead man’s cry from autumn long since gone.
I cry to you beyond upon this bitter air.