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Equinox

Clouds go over.  The maples flare again.

In the garden the last bright asters

blaze in the autumn air

the way my skin burned

when you turned to me

in the chill breeze off the lake.

 

The days are cool now,

the nights are deep, and long.

At the feeder a red-winged blackbird

has come in from the fields

and sorts among the seeds.

A rare visitor –

even if he finds what he wants,

he’ll never stay here.

 

These are the last days.

Already the stalks of lilies

have withered, and the gold petals

of the rose melt on the grass.

But the sky flames, more intense.

I didn’t see it coming.

For the few days you were here with me,

all the familiar warnings disappeared.

 

            ~ Patricia Hooper

 

“Red-Winged Blackbird” by Ltshears

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

 

Caspar David Friedrich, circa 1830

Alone in the library room, even when others

Are there in the room, alone, except for themselves:

There is the illusion of peace; the air in the room

 

Is stilled; there are reading lights on the tables,

Looking as if they’re reading, looking as if

They’re studying the text, and understanding,

 

Shedding light on what the words are saying;

But under their steady imbecile gaze the page

Is blank, patiently waiting not to be blank.

 

                                               ~ From “In the Reading Room” by David Ferry

 

“The Interior of the Library at Cassiobury” by Augustus Charles Pugin, before 1816

A Greater Depth

About his picture, which now stood on his easel, he had one judgement in the depths of his soul—that no one had ever painted such a picture.  He did not think that his painting was better than any of Raphael’s, but he knew that what he wanted to convey and did convey in this picture no one had ever conveyed before.  He knew that firmly and had known it for a long time, from the very moment he had begun painting it; nevertheless people’s opinions, whatever they might be, were of great importance for him […].  Every observation, however insignificant, which showed that the judges saw at least a small part of what he saw in this picture, stirred him to the bottom of his soul.  He always ascribed to his judges a greater depth of understanding than he himself had, and expected something from them that he himself did not see in his picture.

 

~ From Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy, born on this day in 1828

 

“De Jonge Schilder” (“The Young Painter”) by Pierre Joseph Toussaint, between 1850 and 1888

Glimmer Train is currently accepting submissions for its Short Story Award for New Writers contest through October 31.  The contest is open to writers whose fiction has not appeared in any print publication with a circulation over 5,000.  Contest entries must not have appeared in any print publication.  Stories submitted to this category are typically 500 to 4,000 words and should not exceed 12,000 words.

The first place winner will receive $2,500, publication in Glimmer Train Stories, and ten copies of that issue.  The second and third place winners will receive $500 and $300, respectively, possible publication, and ten copies of the publication issue.  Results will be announced in the January 1 bulletin.  For more information or to submit your work, visit the website at http://www.glimmertrain.com.

Good luck!

 

 

September Midnight

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.

 

                                                        ~ Sara Teasdale

 

“A Moonlit Evening” by John Atkinson Grimshaw, 1880

Time Passes

Night after night, summer and winter, the torment of storms, the arrow-like stillness of fine weather, held their court without interference.  Listening (had there been anyone to listen) from the upper rooms of the empty house only gigantic chaos streaked with lightning could have been heard tumbling and tossing, as the winds and waves disported themselves like the amorphous bulks of leviathans whose brows are pierced by no light of reason, and mounted one on top of another, and lunged and plunged in the darkness or the daylight (for night and day, month and year ran shapelessly together) in idiot games, until it seemed as if the universe were battling and tumbling, in brute confusion and wanton lust aimlessly by itself.

 

~ Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse

 

The Nividic Lighthouse at Ouessant Island (Finistère, France) by Samuel Lamotte d’Incamps, 2005

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