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Poetry Friday: "What September Swallows" by Stewart Cole

September? Already?

It's true. You've run as fast as you could, but time is always quicker, and the ninth month has finally caught up to you and commanded you to get back to work.

So, this Poetry Friday, we bid a fond adieu to August and look into the belly of the beast that is September.

And what better way to look forward than to look back? At least, that's the sense we get from Stewart Coles' haunting, enigmatic, elegiac "What September Swallows" (from Questions in Bed).

What September Swallows

               Summer, yes —
but what else? In one long autumnal gulp
the green irreverence that accrues
               over three months of the kind
                           of beaming lucidity

               Blake etched
with such heliocentric conviction.
What delusion, to permit this regret
               like frost to pale with frigid dust
                         your flushed athletic lips,

               the redness
they tugged to my surfaces. As if the sun
were ever more completely revered: heat
               beneath, between, within our
                         creature bodies given over

               to melt.
How orchidaceous lying glazed in sweat
can make us feel, like whole bodies of lolling
               tongues, how open, but of course
                         we teeter over into wilt.

               It snows
sometimes in September. And my disbelief
at these soon-white fields morphs to knowing this:
               we the pursued are chasers
                         of weather, and like historians

               our quarry
never fails to estrange us. Circling back to stalk
the year's first snowfall, summer's embers
               still hissing in our hearts,
                         we convince ourselves

               this is new 
and those first flakes, in landing, elate like a touch
we forgot we'd ever shivered under, fingers
               we thought long past, reaching
                         back from future summers.

September Snow


icehouse poetry Poem Poetry Friday September Stewart Cole

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