RSS Feed

Tag Archives: fall

Turning to a new season

red salamander
Fall affects people in differing ways. Some feel dread as the days get shorter and the temperatures drop. They worry about darkness, snow and cold when they are months away. Others, like me, love fall the best. Yep, I like all the cliched autumn things: apple picking, country fairs, turning leaves, mums and pumpkins, crisp nights, Halloween, fewer tourists in Maine….almost all of it, except pumpkin spice flavored beer and coffee. I think it’s the loveliest time to live in New England.

Here is a short, powerful poem by Denise Levertov that I have liked for a long time.

Living

The fire in leaf and grass
so green it seems
each summer the last summer.

The wind blowing, the leaves
shivering in the sun,
each day the last day.

A red salamander
so cold and so
easy to catch, dreamily

moves his delicate feet
and long tail. I hold
my hand open for him to go.

Each minute the last minute.

Advertisements

Poetry for an elegiac season

fall-benches

Autumn in New England, of course, is spectacular, but it also brings a sense of loss and drawing in, as days shorten, we finally turn the heat on, and batten down the house for winter. We resurrect our jackets, gloves and flannel sheets. The garden slowly dies.

Here is one of my favorite poems about fall, bittersweet like the season. I chose this for my mother’s memorial service program in June; she liked the poem.  Our mutual love of poetry (and reading) was one of our strongest bonds.

from “Autumn Sonnets” by May Sarton

If I can let you go as trees let go
Their leaves, so casually, one by one;
If I can come to know what they do know,
That fall is the release, the consummation,
Then fear of time and the uncertain fruit
Would not distemper the great lucid skies
This strangest autumn, mellow and acute.
If I can take the dark with open eyes
And call it seasonal, not harsh or strange
(For love itself may need a time of sleep),
And, treelike, stand unmoved before the change,
Lose what I lose to keep what I can keep,
The strong root still alive under the snow,
Love will endure – if I can let you go.

The year turns again to autumn

This is a tree in my neighborhood in Maine.  It’s a cliché but a true one that most of us feel lucky to live in New England this time of year.  The “FOILAGE”, as I heard someone say on the radio, is spectacular.  One’s thoughts turn to cooking, comfort food, approaching holidays, wearing fleece and putting the flannel sheets on the bed.  And, of course, reading and other indoor activities.  I read a wonderful book recently, ON THE MOVE, Dr. Oliver Sacks’ memoir.  What an extraordinary man, multi-talented and in love with language.  I had read some of his books about neurological patients and they were very good, but the memoir is even more fascinating, and I recommend it highly to you.  neighbor tree October

Pumpkins and a big prize

pumpkin_pie

young Hemingway

We’re in the pumpkin season, of course – suffering such abominations as pumpkin coffee and pumpkin beer. (Pie, bread, muffins, all that traditional stuff is great.) I threw in this photo of young Hemingway just because he was so handsome; that’s easy to forget when you see pictures of his older self.

I am so pleased that Alice Munro won the Nobel Prize in literature. I have loved her writing for decades. Some of her stories are gritty, sad, and difficult to read; there is no one who penetrates into the hearts and minds of her characters the way she does. It’s unusual for a writer who has gone the distance to only write short stories, but obviously it’s her form. It’s about time a Canadian won, too.

Wonderful quote from Oscar Wilde: “All bad poetry springs from genuine feeling.” His birthday was October 16.

Warm October

apples

fall in New England

My window boxes are still blooming, and so is a pink rose in my yard – most unusual for October in Maine. I had to mow the lawn today – usually by October that particular chore is done until spring. Last weekend I went to the Cumberland Fair and tomorrow I’m going apple picking. The state has officially declared the fall foliage to be at its peak. The pleasures of autumn in New England! The poetry scene here gets more varied this time of year, too, with slam, open mikes, featured poets and many kinds of readings and festivals all over the state. Maine Poetry Central and Moon Pie Press just released the first winner of the Michael Macklin Prize contest, a wonderful poetry collection by Michele Leavitt of Unity, Maine, called BACK EAST. It is already selling briskly and I am delighted. Michele will have a “launch” reading on November 1 at Longfellow Books in downtown Portland; details will be on the MPP website at http://www.moonpiepress.com. Other readings will happen, too. I hope to see you at a poetry event this season.

Autumn in New England…and animal poetry

autumn leaves

Chandler with cat

Last night we had temperatures in the 30s, though my annuals didn’t die, so technically it wasn’t a frost here in Westbrook. At the risk of sounding corny/unoriginal, fall is my favorite season in New England (I’m not a fan of hot weather).

I’m working on a fun project compiling a second anthology of contemporary animal poetry. The first one, published in 2008, has sold well. All proceeds from that book go to the Maine State Society for the Protection of Animals (MSSPA), a private nonprofit mostly equine rescue organization in Windham, Maine. I volunteer for this excellent outfit. Check out the website at http://www.msspa.org and if you can, visit their beautiful farm and see what extraordinary care the horses and other animals receive.

That’s a picture of Raymond Chandler that I found online. Photos of writers with beloved animals are so cool. Anyway, I have put the second anthology on hold for a bit while I wait to find out whether Moon Pie Press and MSSPA will receive some grant money we have applied for to publish and advertise the book. I hope you will consider buying the first anthology and the second one when it’s out, too. These books are good gifts for animal lovers and benefit rescued horses and other creatures.