September Lines


If I were a street, I hope I’d get a good name, not Main

or One-Way.

Sometimes, parents & children

become the most common strangers. Eventually,
a street appears where they can meet again.

Poplar Street/ Chen Chen


I say it wants less for company than for compassion,

which can come from afar and faceless.

As there is no face. There’s just the willow
as willow. Nothing but itself. Its shadow meaningless

except to those who want for shade,
and find it there.

And Swept all Visible Signs Away/ Carl Phillips


Not those that flash by, but those

into which the gaze wanders
and is lost

and returns to tell
Here is a mystery,

a person, an
other, an I?

When We Look Up/ Denise Levertov


I am doing something I learned early to do, I am
paying attention to small beauties,
whatever I have–as if it were our duty to
find things to love, to bind ourselves to this world.

from The Gold Cell/ Sharon Olds


reading Spengler, reading Whitehead,
William James I loved him, swimming breaststroke
and thinking for an hour, how did I get here?

Still Burning/ Gerald Stern


there are, on this planet alone, something like two
million naturally occurring sweet things,
some with names so generous as to kick
the steel from my knees: agave, persimmon,
stick ball, the purple okra I bought for two bucks
at the market.

I remember. My color’s green. I’m spring.

Sorrow is Not My Name/ Ross Gay


The air you breathe has swirled thru places of the earth that no one has ever seen. Every bit of you is a bit of the earth and has been on many strange and wonderful journeys over countless millions of years.

Lake Superior/ Lorine Niedecker


you may now
Go forth to the forests and the shady streets
To see how the chaos of experience
Answers to catalogue and category.

what language does
And how it does it, cutting across the world

how funny knowledge is:
You may succeed in learning many trees
And calling off their names as you go by,
But their comprehensive silence stays the same.

Learning the Trees/ Howard Nemerov


The heat of autumn
is different from the heat of summer.
One ripens apples, the other turns them to cider.

The Heat of Autumn/ Jane Hirshfield


Rotten fish slapped their rotten smell on the riverbank.

Beginning/ Claire Wahmanholm


A Blank White Page
is a meadow
after a snowfall
that a poem
hopes to cross

A Blank White Page/ Francisco X. Alarcón


Autumn wind chases in
From all directions
And a thousand chaste leaves
Give way.

Nature Aria/ Yi Lei


and for now it seems as though
you are still summer
still the high familiar
endless summer
yet with a glint
of bronze in the chill mornings

but they all know
that you have come
the seed heads of the sage
the whispering birds

To the Light of September/ W.S. Merwin


Knuckles of the rain
on the roof,
chuckles into the drain-
pipe, spatters on
the leaves that litter
the grass.

Light that’s sucked into
the eye, warming the brain
with wires of color.
Light that hatched life
out of the cold egg of earth.

Stand still, stare

October/ May Swenson