Evening Poetry, September 30

Green Pear Tree in September

By Freya Manfred

On a hill overlooking the Rock River 
my father’s pear tree shimmers, 
in perfect peace, 
covered with hundreds of ripe pears 
with pert tops, plump bottoms,  
and long curved leaves. 
Until the green-haloed tree 
rose up and sang hello, 
I had forgotten. . .  
He planted it twelve years ago, 
when he was seventy-three, 
so that in September 
he could stroll down  
with the sound of the crickets 
rising and falling around him, 
and stand, naked to the waist, 
slightly bent, sucking juice 
from a ripe pear.

You can find this poem in Swimming With a Hundred Year Old Snapping Turtle.

Evening Poetry, September 29

Fall, leaves, fall

By Emily Bronte

Fall, leaves, fall; die, flowers, away;
Lengthen night and shorten day;
Every leaf speaks bliss to me
Fluttering from the autumn tree.
I shall smile when wreaths of snow
Blossom where the rose should grow;
I shall sing when night’s decay
Ushers in a drearier day.

You can find this in The Complete Poems of Emily Bronte.

Evening Poetry, September 28

Autumn

By Amy Lowell

All day I have watched the purple vine leaves
Fall into the water.
And now in the moonlight they still fall,
But each leaf is fringed with silver.

You can find this poem in The Collected Poetical Works of Amy Lowell.

Evening Poetry, September 27

Elemental

by John O’ Donohue

Is the world the work

Of someone who tills the blue field,

Unearth its dark plenitude

For the tight seed to release its thought

Into the ferment of clay,

Searching to earth the light

And come to voice in a word of grain

That can sing free in the breeze,

Bathe in the yellow well of the sun,

Avoid the attack of the bird,

And endure the red cell of the oven

Until memory leavens in the gift of bread?

You can find this poem in Conamara Blues.

Evening Poetry, September 26

Thirst

by Mary Oliver

Another morning and I wake with thirst

for the goodness I do not have. I walk

out to the pond and all the way God has

given us such beautiful lessons. Oh Lord,

I was never a quick scholar but sulked

and hunched over my books past the

hour and bell; grant me, in your

mercy, a little more time. Love for the

earth and love for you are having such a

long conversation in my heart. Who

knows what will finally happen or

where I will be sent, yet already I have

given a great many things away, expect-

ing to be told to pack nothing, except the

prayers which, with this thirst, I am

slowly learning.

You can find this in Thirst.

Evening Poetry, September 25

Before The Beginning

by John O’ Donohue

Unknown to us, there are moments

When crevices we cannot see open

For time to come alive with beginning.

As in autumn a field of corn knows

When enough green has been inhaled

From the clay and under the skill

Of an artist breeze becomes gold in a day,

When the ocean still as a mirror

Of a sudden takes a sinister curve

To rise in a mountain of wave

That would swallow a village.

How to a flock of starlings

Scattered, at work on grass,

From somewhere, a signal comes

And suddenly as one, they describe

A geometric shape in the air.

When the audience becomes still

And the soprano lets the silence deepen,

In that slowed holding, the whole aria

Hovers nearer, then alights

On the wings of breath

Poised to soar into song.

These inklings were first prescribed

The morning we met in Westport

And I was left with such sweet time

Wondering if between us something

Was deciding to begin or not.

You can find this poem in Conamara Blues.

Evening Poetry, September 24

Autumn

By Alice Cary

Shorter and shorter now the twilight clips 
   The days, as though the sunset gates they crowd, 
And Summer from her golden collar slips 
   And strays through stubble-fields, and moans aloud, 

Save when by fits the warmer air deceives, 
   And, stealing hopeful to some sheltered bower, 
She lies on pillows of the yellow leaves, 
   And tries the old tunes over for an hour. 

The wind, whose tender whisper in the May 
   Set all the young blooms listening through th’ grove, 
Sits rustling in the faded boughs to-day 
   And makes his cold and unsuccessful love. 

The rose has taken off her tire of red— 
   The mullein-stalk its yellow stars have lost, 
And the proud meadow-pink hangs down her head 
   Against earth’s chilly bosom, witched with frost. 

The robin, that was busy all the June, 
   Before the sun had kissed the topmost bough, 
Catching our hearts up in his golden tune, 
   Has given place to the brown cricket now. 

The very cock crows lonesomely at morn— 
   Each flag and fern the shrinking stream divides— 
Uneasy cattle low, and lambs forlorn 
   Creep to their strawy sheds with nettled sides. 

Shut up the door: who loves me must not look 
   Upon the withered world, but haste to bring 
His lighted candle, and his story-book, 
   And live with me the poetry of Spring.

You can find this poem in American Poetry: The Nineteenth Century.

Evening Poetry, September 23

The Fist

by Mary Oliver

There are days

when the sun goes down

like a fist,

though of course

if you see anything

in the heavens

in this way

you had better get

your eyes checked

or, better still,

your diminished spirit.

The heavens

have no fist,

or wouldn’t they have been

shaking it

for a thousand years now,

and even

longer than that,

at the dull, brutish

ways of mankind–

heaven’s own

creation?

Instead: such patience!

Such willingness

to let us continue!

To hear,

little by little,

the voices–

only, so far, in

pockets of the world–

suggesting

the possibilities

of peace?

Keep looking.

Behold, how the fist opens

with invitation.

You can find this poem in Thirst.

Evening Poetry, September 22

I, 62

by Rainer Maria Rilke

(from The Book of a Monastic Life)

Only as a child am I awake

and able to trust

that after every fear and every night

I will behold you again.

However often I get lost,

however far my thinking strays,

I know you will be here, right here,

time trembling around you.

To me it is as if I were at once

infant, boy, man, and more.

I feel that only as it circles

is abundance found.

I thank you, deep power

that works me ever more lightly

in ways I can’t make out.

The day’s labor grows simple now,

and like a holy face

held in my hands.

You can find this poem in Rilke’s Book of Hours: Love Poems to God.

Evening Poetry, September 21

Fluent

by John O’ Donohue

I would love to live

Like a river flows,

Carried by the surprise

Of its own unfolding.

You can find this poem in Conamara Blues.