WestWords Perfect Pair 03.10.2014

Some autumnal verse today with poet Elizabeth Jennings. Born in Boston in 1926, Jennings is known for her lyric poetry, through which she explores suffering, relationships, loneliness and religious faith. Her devotion to poetry yielded over twenty books during her life. The nostalgia of the season here in:

SONG AT THE BEGINNING OF AUTUMN
By Elizabeth Jennings

Now watch this autumn that arrives
In smells. All looks like summer still;
Colours are quite unchanged, the air
On green and white serenely thrives.
Heavy the trees with growth and full
The fields. Flowers flourish everywhere.

Proust who collected time within
A child’s cake would understand
The ambiguity of this –
Summer still raging while a thin
Column of smoke stirs from the land
Proving that autumn gropes for us.

But every season is a kind
Of rich nostalgia. We give names –
Autumn and summer, winter, spring –
As though to unfasten from the mind
Our moods and give them outward forms.
We want the certain, solid thing.

But I am carried back against
My will into a childhood where
Autumn is bonfires, marble, smoke;
I lean against my window fenced
From evocations in the air.
When I said autumn, autumn broke.

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