SEPTEMBER IN NEW HAMPSHIRE
After a storm
Washed sky, unbearable blue,
Rolls up the pond,
Bright sun, warmth you barely feel:
Shorts and sweatshirts,
A day to get apples.
Between Labor Day and Columbus Day,
Between the summer people and the leaf peepers,
The quiet cusp of a new season:
Ferns and asters fading fast.
The woods, dusty pink and ocherous,
Tell you something’s afoot:
Sugar maples, a branch or two infused with orange red,
Or maybe the single leaf of a seedling,
Half crimson, green drained out:
The work of an artist interrupted,
Coming back soon.
SEPTEMBER SONGS 2007
1. Oncoming Traffic
Walking on the lane,
Toward the end of the pond:
Late afternoon September sun
Filters into the woods,
Shafts of light through a cathedral window.
The lane is not the same, though:
The drivers younger, of course;
We don’t all know each other any more.
People talking on cell phones
Don’t have a hand to wave.
2. Growing Season
Burgundy chrysanthemums on the gray deck.
The orchard farm stand opened this morning,
Bright, quiet; remote September sun:
White bags of Mac’s and Cortland’s by the peck,
Crisp, early tartness, polished red and green;
Acorn squash, best with maple syrup.
The pumpkins will get bigger,
Preschoolers will come for hayrides.
But this afternoon on the pond
Betsy Winbourne digs up her garden,
Hauls the annuals to the compost pile,
Cuts back the day lilies,
Before the first frost
KAYAKING SEPTEMBER 2014
Cerulean September postcard day,
Breeze six knots or so out of the Northwest:
Two small kayaks put in at the public launch,
A young couple from somewhere else
Setting out to see new vistas on our pond.
I would like to point things out to them:
The tutoring camp where my father taught,
The dam, the inlet where Perry Brook
Ends its narrow run down Copple Crown,
The cottage where we lived
When we first came here—what?—
Nearly seventy summers ago.
I might also ask them if they checked for milfoil.
But they are headed the other way.
I paddle along the west shore,
Past the family of mergansers I saw last week,
Their young still not ready
To set out on their own.
My friend Herb, widowed some years back,
Often sits on his dock alone,
Drinking coffee, reading the paper.
Today, though, he has someone with him,
A woman, I think.
“September in New Hampshire” first appeared in Mobius, May 2004. “September Songs 2007” first appeared in Foliate Oak, March 2011.