The Dying Garden

I wish I could share so many of the lovely poems of autumn, the poems that tell of ripening apples and smiling sunflowers, brisk and crispy air, the laughter of children going to school, the ending of glorious summer and the beginning of a fruitful and colorful fall. But this year I just can't. From one corner of the country to another communities are on fire, cities are under water, hospitals have no room for more sick, people are dying from heat prostration and states are bent on punishing those who have learned to breath free.

So I have turned to Theodore Roethke, whose ghost still haunts the booths and byways of the Blue Moon Tavern in Seattle, and who writes here of The Far Field. I chose a small segment that recalls the dry scent of a dying garden in September. And so much of what I love is still near at hand.

I have come to a still, but not a deep center,
A point outside the glittering current;
My eyes stare at the bottom of a river,
At the irregular stones, iridescent sandgrains,
My mind moves in more than one place,
In a country half-land, half-water.
I am renewed by death, thought of my death,
The dry scent of a dying garden in September,
The wind fanning the ash of a low fire.
What I love is near at hand,
Always, in earth and air