September’s poem: by Amy Lowell

September, 1918
By Amy Lowell

This afternoon was the colour of water falling through sunlight;
The trees glittered with the tumbling of leaves;
The sidewalks shone like alleys of dropped maple leaves,
And the houses ran along them laughing out of square, open windows.
Under a tree in the park,
Two little boys, lying flat on their faces,
Were carefully gathering red berries
To put in a pasteboard box.
Some day there will be no war,
Then I shall take out this afternoon
And turn it in my fingers,
And remark the sweet taste of it upon my palate,
And note the crisp variety of its flights of leaves.
To-day I can only gather it
And put it into my lunch-box,
For I have time for nothing
But the endeavour to balance myself
Upon a broken world.

I find this poem lovely and insightful and perfect for a world so broken and so beautiful all at once. Amy Lowell was born in 1874. She was an American poet, although she also spent a fair bit of time in Europe (particularly England; she was inspired by the Imagist Poets of both England and America); she became a poet in her thirties, and was a prolific (and very talented) writer. As you have realized if you read to the end, this is not so much a poem about autumn as it is about World War I. As a pacifist who is also head-over-heels in love with the natural world…it moves me.

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One thought on “September’s poem: by Amy Lowell

  1. This poem is exquisite- thanks for the post. Today I read something in Southern Living which was an invocation by Ben Moise. The first two thirds of it was an e.e. cummings poem with no credit. Poets are a treasure- they always deserve our praise.

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