I. To the Light of September by W.S. Merwin
When you are already here
you appear to be only
a name that tells of you
whether you are present or not
and for now it seems as though
you are still summer
still the high familiar
yet with a glint
of bronze in the chill mornings
and the late yellow petals
of the mullein fluttering
on the stalks that lean
over their broken
shadows across the cracked ground
but they all know
that you have come
the seed heads of the sage
the whispering birds
with nowhere to hide you
to keep you for later
who fly with them
you who are neither
before nor after
you who arrive
with blue plums
that have fallen through the night
perfect in the dew
REFLECTIVE MUSIC: Cello Concerto (1st movement) by Alan Hovhaness
II. September Midnight by Sara Teasdale
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,
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.
REFLECTIVE MUSIC: Harpsichord Concerto in A, (2nd movement) by J.S. Bach
III. A lane of Yellow led the eye
by Emily Dickinson
A lane of Yellow led the eyeUnto a Purple WoodSurpasses solitudeWhose soft inhabitants to beOr flower presume to showIf Bird the silence contradictImpossible to know -In that low summer of the West
REFLECTIVE MUSIC: Cantilena from Sonata for Flute and Piano by Francis Poulenc
IV. Strange Violet Behind Trees by Christine Klocek-Lom
after Wolf Kahn
The house hides in dusk’s spangled purples.
It’s hard to see such colors, capricious
tones barely there once night has almost
sucked the light from the forest.
And silhouetted trees rear up
as I walk, interrupt the horizon,
their dry leaves muttering imprecations
in the magenta gleam of twilight.
You have gone and I must be careful:
the path has faded to mere shadow
and I can no longer understand
the exuberance of a leaf twisting
in the breeze. How does autumn tangle
everything so elegantly, as when crimson
replaces the decorous sheen of green?
Such willful ambiguity. I walk steadily.
The soft retreat of chlorophyll asks useless
questions. The mother tree sleeps
and misses the violet whoop of fall,
the overlapping dive of it all.
By now night has stolen
twilight’s indescribable glow.
Our house has quietly slid
into an atmospheric blur.
There is nothing more to see.
My darling, the violet has disappeared
and I’m not yet home but I can still feel
the brittle slump of frost behind the trees.
REFLECTIVE MUSIC: Introit, Op.6 for Small Orchestra and Violin by Gerald Finzi
V. Sonnet 73 by William Shakespeare
That time of year thou mayst in me behold
When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang
Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,
Bare ruin'd choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.
In me thou seest the twilight of such day
As after sunset fadeth in the west,
Which by and by black night doth take away,
Death's second self, that seals up all in rest.
In me thou see'st the glowing of such fire
That on the ashes of his youth doth lie,
As the death-bed whereon it must expire
Consumed with that which it was nourish'd by.
This thou perceivest, which makes thy love more strong,
To love that well which thou must leave ere long.
REFLECTIVE MUSIC: Now, o now I needs must part by John Dowland (arr. by Percy Grainger)