Embrace the Spirituality of September and the Autumn 

‘September is like no other

It's days change color and weather

No other month can say quite the same…’- Jessica Millsaps

'Mother of Darkness, Mother of Light

Earth beneath us, soul in flight,

Songs of love and love of life,

Guide us to our home.' ~Circle Song

flower: Morning Glory

Morning Glory: The Birth Flower of September.-Photo:Charleston Magazine

‘Because of the fleeting nature of beautiful bloom, the plant has come to symbolize love and affection in many cultures.

Morning Glories teach us to be receptive to the healing rays of love even though they might not last –

just like its flower which opens up for the sun in the morning only to die by evening.’

Last month, I offered some of the finest poems forAugust, so now I move forward to August, the last month of Summer, before the chill of autumn by offering some beautiful and inspiring poems.

‘Ah, September: the ninth month of the year with a name that indicates that it is, or rather once was, the seventh one.’- Billy Mills

September, as noted in the Wikipedia  ‘(from Latin septem, "seven") was originally the seventh of ten months in the oldest known Roman calendar, the calendar of Romulus c. 750 BC, with March (Latin Martius) the first month of the year until perhaps as late as 451 BC. After the calendar reform that added January and February to the beginning of the year, September became the ninth month but retained its name. It had 29 days until the Julian reform, which added a day.’

Forget-me- not: The Other September Flower

Forget-me-nots represent true love. They are also a symbol of fidelity and being

truthful to someone you love.-Photo:Gardener's Path

And then, of course not forgetting the other lovely September Flower: The Gorgeous Aster

‘In general, asters are considered to symbolize love, affection, and wisdom. In the Victorian flower language,

they also carried the meaning of daintiness, patience, and charm. However, the specific color of aster can change

the meaning. Purple asters, the most popular kind, denote wisdom and royalty, while white asters mean innocence and purity.

Choosing red asters sends a message of undying devotion, with pink asters conveying love and sensitivity.’- Photo:Pinterest

Beginning with my September poems, my first offering is ‘Ode to Autumn’ by John Keats.‘Marked by sensuous profusion and artistic control, this most widely published of English poems is laden with meaning.’

Photo: Pinterest

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,

   Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;

Conspiring with him how to load and bless

   With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;

To bend with apples the moss'd cottage-trees,

   And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;

      To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells

   With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,

And still more, later flowers for the bees,

Until they think warm days will never cease,

      For summer has o'er-brimm'd their clammy cells.

Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?...To Autumn by John Keats

Following on from Keats's 'To Autumn'. Percy Bysshe Shelley’s ‘Ode to the West Wind’  is another lovely poem, which I would like to note.

Photo: Gaia

‘O wild West Wind, thou breath of Autumn's being,

Thou, from whose unseen presence the leaves dead

Are driven, like ghosts from an enchanter fleeing,

Yellow, and black, and pale, and hectic red,

Pestilence-stricken multitudes: O thou,

Who chariotest to their dark wintry bed

The winged seeds, where they lie cold and low,

Each like a corpse within its grave, until

Thine azure sister of the Spring shall blow

Her clarion o'er the dreaming earth, and fill

(Driving sweet buds like flocks to feed in air)

With living hues and odours plain and hill:

Wild Spirit, which art moving everywhere;

Destroyer and preserver; hear, oh hear!...’-Ode to the West Wind

William Wordsworth’s, ‘September, 1819’, a beautiful Romantic meditation on the arrival of autumn, when Wordsworth detects an echo of spring in the mellowing nature of everything, is a wonderfully engaging poem to recall.

'Departing summer hath assumed

An aspect tenderly illumed,

The gentlest look of spring;

That calls from yonder leafy shade

Unfaded, yet prepared to fade,

A timely carolling.

No faint and hesitating trill,

Such tribute as to winter chill

The lonely redbreast pays!

Clear, loud, and lively is the din,

From social warblers gathering in

Their harvest of sweet lays.

Nor doth the example fail to cheer

Me, conscious that my leaf is sere,

And yellow on the bough:—

Fall, rosy garlands, from my head!

Ye myrtle wreaths, your fragrance shed

Around a younger brow!...’-September, 1819

And now I turn to Helen Hunt Jackson’s ‘September’ for more inspiration.  As Kate Phillips in her book on Jackson’s life and works has candidly noted, the ‘thnovelist, travel writer, and essayist Helen Hunt Jackson (1830-1885) was one of the most successful authors and most passionate intellectuals of her day.’

The golden-rod is yellow;

The corn is turning brown;

The trees in apple orchards

With fruit are bending down.

The gentian’s bluest fringes

Are curling in the sun;

In dusty pods the milkweed

Its hidden silk has spun.

The sedges flaunt their harvest,

In every meadow nook;

And asters by the brook-side

Make asters in the brook.

From dewy lanes at morning

the grapes’ sweet odors rise;

At noon the roads all flutter

With yellow butterflies.

By all these lovely tokens

September days are here,

With summer’s best of weather,

And autumn’s best of cheer.

But none of all this beauty

Which floods the earth and air

Is unto me the secret

Which makes September fair.

‘T is a thing which I remember;

To name it thrills me yet:

One day of one September

I never can forget.’-Originally printed in Poems (Roberts Brothers, 1892). 

Here we have a slightly different meditation on September from arguably one of Ireland’s most famous poets, W. B. Yeats (1865-1939). In ‘September 1913’, Yeats meditates and reflects on the situation in Ireland and laments a lost past for his home country, concluding that ‘Romantic Ireland’s dead and gone, / It’s with O’Leary in the grave.’

Police violence against locked-out workers in Dublin.- Photo: The Irish Times

‘September 1913 was a turbulent time in the history of Dublin.  It was a time when Yeats found the voice of his

righteous anger to express his frustration of the manner in which Irish Society was being exploited by the merchant classes.’

‘What need you, being come to sense,

But fumble in a greasy till

And add the halfpence to the pence

And prayer to shivering prayer, until

You have dried the marrow from the bone;

For men were born to pray and save:

Romantic Ireland’s dead and gone,

It’s with O’Leary in the grave.

Yet they were of a different kind,

The names that stilled your childish play,

They have gone about the world like wind,

But little time had they to pray

For whom the hangman’s rope was spun,

And what, God help us, could they save?

Romantic Ireland’s dead and gone,

It’s with O’Leary in the grave.

Was it for this the wild geese spread

The grey wing upon every tide;

For this that all that blood was shed,

For this Edward Fitzgerald died,

And Robert Emmet and Wolfe Tone,

All that delirium of the brave?

Romantic Ireland’s dead and gone,

It’s with O’Leary in the grave.

Yet could we turn the years again,

And call those exiles as they were

In all their loneliness and pain,

You’d cry, ‘Some woman’s yellow hair

Has maddened every mother’s son’:

They weighed so lightly what they gave.

But let them be, they’re dead and gone,

They’re with O’Leary in the grave.’-September 1913

Another ‘political’ September poem is the one by W. H. Auden, namely ‘September 1, 1939’, a poetic reflection on Nazi Germany’s invasion of Poland and the ensuing outbreak of the second world war.

Photo: BBC

‘I sit in one of the dives

On Fifty-second Street

Uncertain and afraid

As the clever hopes expire

Of a low dishonest decade:

Waves of anger and fear

Circulate over the bright

And darkened lands of the earth,

Obsessing our private lives;

The unmentionable odour of death

Offends the September night.

Accurate scholarship can

Unearth the whole offence

From Luther until now

That has driven a culture mad,

Find what occurred at Linz,

What huge imago made

A psychopathic god:

I and the public know

What all schoolchildren learn,

Those to whom evil is done

Do evil in return…’-September 1, 1939

Most children in different parts of the world will be heading back to school in the first week of September. So, what better than to note this momentous day for all the children than to read this beautiful poem "September, the first day of school"  by Howard Nemerov. This is a nice and sensational poem, and it is an expression of the feelings of a father about his son going to school for the first day. The poem depicts the love and affection the poet, as a father, feels when he leaves his son at school on the first day.

Photo:motherfly

‘My child and I hold hands on the way to school,

And when I leave him at the first-grade door

He cries a little but is brave; he does

Let go. My selfish tears remind me how

I cried before that door a life ago.

I may have had a hard time letting go.

Each fall the children must endure together

What every child also endures alone:

Learning the alphabet, the integers,

Three dozen bits and pieces of a stuff

So arbitrary, so peremptory,

That worlds invisible and visible

Bow down before it, as in Joseph’s dream

The sheaves bowed down and then the stars bowed down

Before the dreaming of a little boy.

That dream got him such hatred of his brothers

As cost the greater part of life to mend

And yet great kindness came of it in the end…’-September, The First Day Of School

And now, what better than to follow the ‘First Day at School’ with a beautiful poem ‘September’ by Lucy Maud Montgomery, best-known for her classic novel for children, Anne of Green Gables, set in Montgomery’s own country of Canada (on Prince Edward Island). Montgomery was also a poet, and in this short poem about September she pays tribute to the ‘late delight’ of the month.

A beautiful calm autumn day in Murray Harbour, Prince Edward Island, Canada- Photo:Pinterest

‘Lo! a ripe sheaf of many golden days

Gleaned by the year in autumn's harvest ways,

With here and there, blood-tinted as an ember,

Some crimson poppy of a late delight

Atoning in its splendor for the flight

Of summer blooms and joys­

This is September.’

I love September for many reasons, one of which is, for sure, the arrival of the ‘Indian Summer’, and the continuation of warm summer weather into early autumn. This reminds me of a beautiful poem  ‘September Midnight’ by Sara Teasdale, when she hopes to remember the ‘voices’ of the little insects as summer fades…

Photo:Pinterest

‘Lyric night of the lingering Indian Summer,

Shadowy fields that are scentless but full of singing,

Never a bird, but the passionless chant of insects,

Ceaseless, insistent.

The grasshopper’s horn, and far-off, high in the maples,

The wheel of a locust leisurely grinding the silence

Under a moon waning and worn, broken,

Tired with summer.

Let me remember you, voices of little insects,

Weeds in the moonlight, fields that are tangled with asters,

Let me remember, soon will the winter be on us,

Snow-hushed and heavy.

Over my soul murmur your mute benediction,

While I gaze, O fields that rest after harvest,

As those who part look long in the eyes they lean to,

Lest they forget them.’

Following on ‘September Midnight’, what can be better than a walk through the fields in a September morning with the celebrated Irish poet Patrick Kavanagh.

‘On An Apple-Ripe September Morning’

Photo:wallpaperflare

‘On an apple-ripe September morning

Through the mist-chill fields I went

With a pitch-fork on my shoulder

Less for use than for devilment.

The threshing mill was set-up, I knew,

In Cassidy's haggard last night,

And we owed them a day at the threshing

Since last year. O it was delight

To be paying bills of laughter

And chaffy gossip in kind

With work thrown in to ballast

The fantasy-soaring mind.

As I crossed the wooden bridge I wondered

As I looked into the drain

If ever a summer morning should find me

Shovelling up eels again.

And I thought of the wasps' nest in the bank

And how I got chased one day

Leaving the drag and the scraw-knife behind,

How I covered my face with hay.

The wet leaves of the cocksfoot

Polished my boots as I

Went round by the glistening bog-holes

Lost in unthinking joy.

I'll be carrying bags to-day, I mused,

The best job at the mill

With plenty of time to talk of our loves

As we wait for the bags to fill.

Maybe Mary might call round...

And then I came to the haggard gate,

And I knew as I entered that I had come

Through fields that were part of no earthly estate.’

And now finally, what better way  to conclude my offerings for September than by this lovely poem, ‘September Changes’ by Jessica Millsaps, who captures the month so beautifully.

Photo:Old Farmer’s Almanac

‘September is like no other

It's days change color and weather

No other month can say quite the same

For every day, I can feel the chang

It's cool breezes start out warm,

Changing to cold throughout every storm

The leaves change and fall

As the Summer leaves and Autumn kisses us all

September maidens feel the change

Like the blue of the sky

Yet the color so deep

Unbelievable beauty

Maidens fall throughout and watch

Each raindrop changing through colors so fast

Yet one streak remains the same

Of that wonderful sapphire rain.

September, unlike any other

Holds you tight, in any weather.

Changes come, no matter where you go

North and you'll get stormy snow

South and feel the heat of summer coming

September does this, no matter what.

Change lives within, Nothing to stop

September is beautiful

And awesome all the same

It's hope for the future and the change

Comes swiftly as we sweep away

The Summer ends and the Autumn begins

Change is all around

With one maiden leaving

And yet, another comes

Born into the world

Of wonderful September

The sapphire skies live on

Through out this wonderful September.’

And so now I have  filled in the ninth page of ‘My Poem of the Month.’ There's a hint of autumn in the air, a bit of Autumn chill, nonetheless, let us  enjoy these lovely poems and have a wonderful September whilst still singing the joys of the warm sunshine, the sunny days, and the changing of the colours, before the arrival of ice and snow!

See more:

Billy Mills, Poster poems: September

Dr Oliver Tearle, The Best Poems for September

A Selection of Related postings from our archive

'Be in love with life and the living and the world will be a better place.'- Kamran Mofid

Photo: Kamran Mofid, our 45th Wedding Anniversary Rose, our garden, Coventry, July 2021

Celebrating the joyous Spring with Hopkins and Wordsworth

Finding sanctuary in poetry during lockdown 

Reflecting on Life: My Childhood in Iran where the love of poetry was instilled in me 

Poetry is the Education that Nourishes the Heart and Nurtures the Soul 

'Nature and Me': Educating the Heart and the Soul of Children to Build a Better World

Do we love the world enough to look after it, to save it?

GCGI Celebrates the World Poetry Day

My Poem of the month (January) and our New Year’s Greetings 

My Poem of the month (February): Let Hope and Healing Begin to Brighten the Covid Darkness

My Poem of the month (March): Look with joy on what is past and Look with hope on what is yet to come

My poem of the Month: Springing back in April with a Renewed Sense of Hope and Optimism

My Poem of the Month: A Celebration of this Sweet and Merry Month of May

My Poem of the Month: June is the Month of Dreams, Love, Romance and Marriage

My Poem of the Month: July is the Month Happiness, Purity, Beauty and Creation

My Poem of the Month: August is the Month of Love, Compassion, Joy, Grace and the Blessed Harvest

My Poem of the month (October): MORḠ-E SAḤAR (Bird of Dawn)

My Poem of the month (November): Reimagined Garden

My Poem of the month (December): The Emerging of a New Consciousness and Hopefulness 

Top