The Love of October

A child looking at ruins grows younger

but cold

and wants to wake to a new name

I have been younger in October

than in all the months of spring

walnut and may leaves the color

of shoulders at the end of summer

a month that has been to the mountain

and become light there

the long grass lies pointing uphill

even in death for a reason

that none of us knows

and the wren laughs in the early shade now

come again shining glance in your good time

naked air late morning

my love is for lightness

of touch foot feather

the day is yet one more yellow leaf

and without turning I kiss the light

by an old well on the last of the month

gathering wild rose hips

in the sun.


                   ~ W. S. Merwin


"A Wooded Path in Autumn" by Hans Andersen Brendekilde, 1902

“A Wooded Path in Autumn” by Hans Andersen Brendekilde, 1902

St. Martin’s Summer

As swallows turning backward

When half-way o’er the sea,

At one word’s trumpet summons

They came again to me –

The hopes I had forgotten

Came back again to me.


I know not which to credit,

O lady of my heart!

Your eyes that bade me linger,

Your words that bade us part –

I know not which to credit,

My reason or my heart.


But be my hopes rewarded,

Or be they but in vain,

I have dreamed a golden vision,

I have gathered in the grain –

I have dreamed a golden vision,

I have not lived in vain.


~ Robert Louis Stevenson


In British England, “St. Martin’s Summer” was the term used to refer to the period of sunny, warm weather in autumn, which became known in America as “Indian Summer” in the 20th century. The celebration of St. Martin’s Day is a rural tradition with ancient origins and is observed on either September 29 or November 11.


"Summer of Saint Martin" by John Everett Millais, 1877

“Summer of Saint Martin” by John Everett Millais, 1877

RUMINATE Magazine is accepting entries up to 5,500 words for the William Van Dyke Short Story Prize through the extended deadline of midnight on October 27.  A prize of $1,500 will be awarded to the winner, and both the winning and first runner-up stories will be published in the Spring 2015 issue in March.  The entry fee is $20 and includes a copy of the March issue.  There is no limit on the number of entries per person.  All entrants will be notified about their submission status in early January.

Past winners from RUMINATE Magazine writing contests have been recognized by Poets & Writers magazine and have received notable mention awards in The Best American Short Stories and Best American Essays anthologies.

RUMINATE is a quarterly Christian literary and arts journal of short stories, poetry, creative nonfiction, and visual art that “speaks to the existence of our daily lives while nudging us toward a greater hope.”  For more information or to submit, visit the website at http://www.ruminatemagazine.com/submit/contests/fiction.



Fall Equinox

I know it’s midnight when the little owls

Commence their muted woodwinds in the pines;

It is September. Pegasus inclines

His great square high where late the heavenly fowls,

The Swan and Eagle, flew the galactine.

I know it’s midnight of the equinox

And dark and light are even – and the flocks

Will feel the sun stand southward on the Line.

The owls’ soft conversation soon is done,

And I am listening to the heavy dark;

In me the slow withdrawal of the sun

Crossing athwart the night has left its mark

That no September’s end shall need henceforth –

I turn with the equator to the north.


                               ~ Orrick Johns


"Two Owls" by Thomas Moran, 1917

“Two Owls” by Thomas Moran, 1917

Summer begins to have the look

Peruser of enchanting Book

Reluctantly but sure perceives

A gain upon the backward leaves –


Autumn begins to be inferred

By millinery of the cloud

Or deeper color in the shawl

That wraps the everlasting hill.


The eye begins its avarice

A meditation chastens speech

Some Dyer of a distant tree

Resumes his gaudy industry.


Conclusion is the course of All

At most to be perennial

And then elude stability

Recalls to immortality.


~ Emily Dickinson, from Poems by Emily Dickinson, Volume 2


"Olvasó nő az erdőben" ("Reading Woman in the Forest") by Benczúr Gyula, 1875

“Olvasó nő az erdőben” (“Reading Woman in the Forest”) by Benczúr Gyula, 1875

End of Summer

An agitation of the air,

A perturbation of the light

Admonished me the unloved year

Would turn on its hinge that night.


I stood in the disenchanted field

Amid the stubble and the stones,

Amazed, while a small worm lisped to me

The song of my marrow-bones.


Blue poured into summer blue,

A hawk broke from his cloudless tower,

The roof of the silo blazed, and I knew

That part of my life was over.


Already the iron door of the north

Clangs open: birds, leaves, snows

Order their populations forth,

And a cruel wind blows.


~ Stanley Kunitz


"Summer at Shinnecock Hills" by William Merritt Chase, 1891

“Summer at Shinnecock Hills” by William Merritt Chase, 1891

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

endless summer

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


~ W. S. Merwin


Hungarian Mullein by Sten

Hungarian Mullein by Sten


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