Hello Everyone– here we are in the 9th month of the year and almost at the equinox, as we resolutely turn our backs on summer (or winter for those in the Southern Hemisphere). Personally, I am somewhat melancholy at this time of year although I do enjoy the wistfulness that this cusp month evokes, so I’ve harvested some eponymous poems, beginning with Karina Borowicz’s ‘September Tomatoes’
“The whiskey stink of rot has settled
in the garden, and a burst of fruit flies rises
when I touch the dying tomato plants.
Still, the claws of tiny yellow blossoms
flail in the air as I pull the vines up by the roots
and toss them in the compost.
It feels cruel. Something in me isn’t ready
to let go of summer so easily…To destroy
what I’ve carefully cultivated all these months.
Those pale flowers might still have time to fruit.
My great-grandmother sang with the girls of her village
as they pulled the flax. Songs so old
and so tied to the season that the very sound
seemed to turn the weather.”
From her Scottish landscape, Dorothy Lawrenson images simplicity with subtlety in ‘September’
“This far north, the harvest happens late.
Rooks go clattering over the sycamores
whose shadows yawn after them, down to the river.
Uncut wheat staggers under its own weight.
Summer is leaving too, exchanging its gold
for brass and copper. It is not so strange
to feel nostalgia for the present; already
this September evening is as old
as a photograph of itself. The light, the shadows
on the field, are sepia, as if this were
some other evening in September, some other
harvest that went ungathered years ago.”
And from Australia, Les Murray conjures Spring in September
“…Pre-industrial haze. The white sky-rim
forecasts a hot summer. Burning days
are indeed rehearsed, with flies and dinnertime fan
but die out over west mountains
erased with azure, into Spring-cool nights…
…Bees and pollen drift
through greening orchards. And next day it pours rain:
smokes of cloud on every bushland slope,
that opposite wintry haze. The month goes out facing
Back home, W.S. Merwin writes “To the Light of September”
“… and for now it seems as though
you are still summer
still the high familiar
yet with a glint
of bronze in the chill mornings
and the late yellow petals
of the mullein fluttering
on the stalks that lean
over their broken
shadows across the cracked ground…
Finally Seamus Heaney locates us in Autumn for his: ‘Postscript’
“…In September or October, when the wind
And the light are working off each other
So that the ocean on one side is wild
With foam and glitter, and inland among stones
The surface of a slate-grey lake is lit
By the earthed lightning of a flock of swans,
Their feathers roughed and ruffling, white on white,
Their fully grown headstrong-looking heads
Tucked or cresting or busy underwater…”
And after all that, my Poetics Challenge focuses on the number 9 though September translates as the 7 month!!
Prompt 1: Write NINE-LINE VERSE(S), taking ONE of the following lines so that each consecutive word becomes the start of the next line of your poem. Keep the word order and repeat the pattern for more verses.
- Those/ pale /flowers /might /still /have/ time/ to /fruit (cite Borowicz)
- Summer/ is /leaving/ too/ exchanging/ its/ gold/ for brass (cite Lawrenson)
- West/ mountains/ erased/ with/ azure/ into/ Spring/cool/ nights (cite Murray)
Prompt 2. For those who like a syllabic challenge, I invite you to write a NONET – a nine line poem that begins with 9 syllables, descending line by line to 1 syllable.
Select ONE of these 9 syllable lines as your opener (or more if you wish to write several nonets)
- It seems as though you are still summer (cite Merwin)
- Broken shadows across the cracked ground (cite Merwin)
- The earthed lightning of a flock of swans (cite Heaney)
- One side is wild with foam and glitter (cite Heaney)
Note: In your post do please cite the authors/poem(s) you have used as prompt
How to write a Nonet poem
Once you have published your poem, add it to the Linky widget and leave a comment below. Then go visiting, reading and sharing your thoughts with other contributors which is half the fun of our dVerse gatherings.
[And a reminder that this THURSDAY 3p.m. E.S.T OPEN LINK NIGHT is LIVE]