Agitation in the air

“Already the iron door of the north
Clangs open: birds, leaves, snows
Order their populations forth,
And a cruel wind blows”

today we walk away from summer
I dislike long goodbyes
this though was still too brief an encounter
– June melted hearts and July the tarmac
so that brows became rimed with salt
crystals in the weather-glass
suddenly misted up – and along August’s arable fringe
scarlet pimpernels turned reclusive*

after much unseasonable maturity
the ultimate departure of Aestas has arrived
seaside holiday trains are withdrawn
arriving on the platform now, school children
uniformed and stampeding around in brown
suitcases with travel labels already unsticking
soon to be dusting themselves aloft
I turn to see leaf and litter travelling
up and down the windswept lines to elsewhere

*Anagallis arvensiss -these flowers close in overcast conditions hence names such as “shepherd’s barometer”. Scarlet pimpernels also grow in broad red bands along roadsides that have been winter salted.

Referencing Stanley Kunitz’s poem – the End of Summer for the first of Autumn’s poems to put in the Poetry Pantry

37 Comments on “Agitation in the air

  1. The picture caught my eye first, love the colour and the structure, but the poem is absolutely lovely (too profane a word maybe). It perfectly describes the transition from summer into autumn, and your words gave me visuals to go with them.

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    • thank you for your comment as was not sure about the image for a while – the photo had such a narrow DOF on seedheads waving in the breeze! School days crept in and a touch of nostalgia for the end of summer hols – I try to look forward too but have just noticed the poem ends with more looking back!

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  2. Love the title. There has to be an agitation when such huge changes are about to happen. “June melted hearts and July the tarmac”…Ha, summer is too summery sometimes 🙂

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  3. Ha! ‘June melted hearts and July the tarmac’. Also like the play on Brief Encounter, and station departures. And I love the image. It does have a sense of summer withdrawing.

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  4. This is really a moving poem. It characterizes autumn so well. I always feel at the end of the summer that the encounter was too brief. No more holiday trains….and the leaves and litter blowing on their way to elsewhere makes me feel sad and lonely for what did not last long enough!

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  5. This departure is beautiful in its soft-edged images. I found this bit amazing: “so that brows became rimed with salt/crystals in the weather-glass/suddenly misted up”. There’s a sense of longing so tangible here, added with that closing which captures autumn in all its delight.
    -HA

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    • happy to hear that longing comes through here – something I feel deeply at this time of year – lovely feedback anmo – many thanks

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  6. “June melted hearts and July the tarmac”. Indeed it did. I love the image of the school children in motion. So suddenly, it is autumn.

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  7. I do love how you describe the past of the summer of July melting the tarmac… somehow we seems to find it harder enjoying today than the past or the future… you describe the autumn so well here.

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  8. This is incredibly evocative! 💜 I love the transition from “June melted hearts and July the tarmac” to “scarlet pimpernels turned reclusive”.. such gorgeous imagery here! Sigh.. I must admit Summer in my part of the world is unbearably humid and hot. Which is why I adore the arrival of Autumn.. 💜

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  9. I like the contrast between the slow pace of the summer and the frenetic activity of the fall.

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  10. What a beautiful nostalgic poem this is. It was an absolute delight to read.

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  11. “along August’s arable fringe
    scarlet pimpernels turned reclusive*”–very cool! I too hate long goodbyes, but I could sure use a few more hot days. I just hooked up an air conditioner! I like so much this phrase: “unseasonable maturity.” Another reinforcement for a goodbye tat is too too fast!

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    • Yes like those flowers our August refused to open up the clouds much except to rain sometimes – hence Autumn started to nudge in on the unseasonable maturity brought by baking July

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  12. The chaos of change.. wonderful! And scarlet pimpernal delightfully reminded me of a novel we read in school!!!!

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  13. Beautiful soft words and images of the passing of summer Laura. There is a wonderful dreamlike quality to them which I enjoyed very much.
    Ah, and then the children uniformed and suitcased, bringing life to the coming of autumn.
    Anna :o]

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