Not that there won’t still be warm days,
or weekends when children gingerly wade
into the river’s still and inviting waters.
But summer has lost her hold. Golden
leaves drift down now in the breeze
and the green of the grasses and trees
is turning, subtly, toward its autumn hues.
School rooms hold the bodies of the children
captive, wherever their dreams may sail.
Bicycles that wheeled freely for hours
sit parked in a rack or garage. Homework
and football fill the afterschool hours. And
night comes soon. But oh, the dreams
of warm days do linger, and the memory
of cool river waters laps at ankles still, even
as we say farewell, beautiful summer.
Thank you, and farewell.
May your heart’s light
so illumine your face
that every being who sees you
feels its radiance beaming
the glory of a new morning
brimming with possibilities,
filled with light and love.
Shine on, bright star.
Blossom, and shine on.
Here. Hold this.
Hold these colors, this high
clean light, the leafiness
and reaching of it all,
full of summer’s finest,
persisting, and shouting
the Yes in sapphire
and emerald all the way
from earth to sky.
Keep it in your memory box.
Label it “Late August.”
Wrap it in fragrance of deep
It’s all about seeds now. She takes
no chances. She goes a little mad,
storing some, sending the rest
by the thousands into the world.
They ride the wind. She is heedless
of their destiny; they will survive
in sufficient numbers to ensure
that life goes on. That is their charge:
to be the keepers of the magic,
to hold it safe through all the dark
and frozen days until she calls.
They are prepared and ready.
They ride the wind, vowing their
sacred vows, brimming with courage
Looking at the world from a different
point of view can change everything.
Focus in on the speck of gold atop
the wild butterfly weed, for instance,
and you can find yourself transported
to a fairytale realm where winged
creatures with square eyes prance
like ponies across a purple field.
And you say to yourself, Oh my God!
This is real, and alive! It’s the same
with the sky on a clear night
when no street lights or moon
are shining, but only the dazzle
of the Milky Way, and all the
constellations that hold our myths
like a mirror. And that from a sky
that we thought no more of than
wallpaper if we noticed it at all.
Look close. Look far. Seeing
with fresh eyes can change
On this glistening morning,
as the sun breaks through,
let nothing enter my mind
but awe, no word speak
itself that is not a word
of wonder and thanksgiving.
Before the rush and routine
of the day can sweep me away,
let me dwell here in the midst
of this green and golden now
until my very cells are drenched
in its Yes and gladness. Amen.
Signs abound in the civilized world.
On the store shelves, bright notebooks
and glue sticks replace the tank tops,
shorts give way to socks. And suddenly
the lumbering yellow school buses
interrupt the traffic’s flow, stopping
at every block to disgorge children
who fly to their doorsteps like birds
filled with chirping news. But summer
can linger long after school bells ring.
I’ll rely on the fading of the ferns,
which gently begin to yellow and wear
the first fallen leaves in their hair.
Find a refuge where you can rest
your mind. Fill it with serenity, and safety,
with sun, and warmth, and the singing
of cool waters. Let it be a place
where wildflowers grow, and where
birds flit among the branches
of the wide-leafed trees. Then,
when the world is too much with you,
its din too loud, its conflicts too brutal,
its disasters too much to bear,
retreat to this space of beauty and peace
and breathe it until you remember
that you are whole, and that much exists
that sings the Yes, and that, in the end,
nothing else will stand.
At first, I confess, the joe pye weed
dismayed me. The way it sprouted
so tall and gangly above the rest
of the plants in the field with its thick
stalk and big toothed leaves, it seemed
a cartoon ogre of some kind. Even
when its lavender buds finally appeared,
I was not impressed, given the way
they quickly put forth scraggly hairs.
But many seasons have since passed,
and now the joe pye hold a place of honor
in my heart. I think of them as kings,
crowning summer’s long parade
of wildflowers. I bow to them
and thank them for reminding me
not to be too quick to judge. Sometimes
frogs become princes; sometimes
weeds become kings.
The first scents of autumn
float on the air now. Birdsong
is giving way to the sounds
of frogs and crickets. I notice,
as I gaze at the scarlet zinnia
in my garden, a grasping
at the moment, a wanting
for it to stay, a wishing
that the season of flowers
lasted all year long. But then,
I tell myself, the brevity
of it is what makes it precious.
Let go. Your grasping only
subtracts from what is now
before you. Let it be,
and it will fill all time.