TCS: Last Fruits and Bird’s Delight – Poems for the Equinoxes

Good Morning!

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Welcome to The Coffee Shop, just for you early risers on Monday mornings.
This is an Open Thread forum, so if you have an off-topic opinion burning
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When the seasons shift, even the subtle beginning,
the scent of a promised change, I feel something
stir inside me. Hopefulness? Gratitude? Openness?
Whatever it is, it’s welcome.

– Kristin Armstrong

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Fall — days grow shorter, the air cools, green leaves flash into copper and amber.

Spring — green begins to creep along branches, and rain or sunlight softly wakens the earth.

At least, that’s what’s supposed to happen. But whatever weather the changes of seasons will bring this year, as we in the Northern Hemisphere put away swimsuits and bring out the sweaters, in the Southern Hemisphere, our friends are putting away woolly caps and pulling out straw hats.

So, here are poems in tribute to the Autumnal and the Vernal Equinoxes.

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AUTUMNAL

Autumn  (28)

by Emily Dickinson

The morns are meeker than they were,
The nuts are getting brown;
The berry’s cheek is plumper,
The rose is out of town.

The maple wears a gayer scarf,
The field a scarlet gown.
Lest I should be old-fashioned,
I’ll put a trinket on.


“Autumn” from The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson (1960 edition) – Little, Brown, and Company

Emily Dickinson (1830-1886) American’s best-known woman poet and one of the nation’s greatest and most original authors, lived the life of a recluse in Amherst MA

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 Equinox

by Elizabeth Alexander

Now is the time of year when bees are wild
and eccentric. They fly fast and in cramped
loop-de-loops, dive-bomb clusters of conversants
in the bright, late-September out-of-doors.
I have found their dried husks in my clothes.

They are dervishes because they are dying,
one last sting, a warm place to squeeze
a drop of venom or of honey.
After the stroke we thought would be her last
my grandmother came back, reared back and slapped

a nurse across the face. Then she stood up,
walked outside, and lay down in the snow.
Two years later there is no other way
to say, we are waiting. She is silent, light
as an empty hive, and she is breathing.


“Equinox” from Body of Life, © 1996 by Elizabeth Alexander – Tia Chucha Press

Elizabeth Alexander (1962 – )  was born in Harlem, in New York. She is an American poet, essayist, playwright, and the president of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation since 2018. In 2009, at the presidential inauguration of Barack Obama, Alexander recited her poem “Praise Song for the Day.” Her poetry collections include Venus Hottentot and American Sublime

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Autumn Day

by  Rainer Maria Rilke

Lord, it is time. Let the great summer go,
Lay your long shadows on the sundials,
And over harvest piles let the winds blow.

Command the last fruits to be ripe;
Grant them some other southern hour,
Urge them to completion, and with power
Drive final sweetness to the heavy grape.

Who’s homeless now, will for long stay alone.
No home will build his weary hands,
He’ll wake, read, write letters long to friends
And will the alleys up and down
Walk restlessly, when falling leaves dance.


Translation by Guntram Deichsel – Biberach, Germany 1987/93

“Autumn Day” from The Selected Poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke: Bilingual Edition, © 1982 – Vintage Books

Rainer Maria Rilke (1875–1926) was born in Prague, Czechia. He is a Bohemian-Austrian poet and novelist. Rilke is “widely recognized as one of the most lyrically intense German-language poets.”

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VERNAL

An Egg Island Equinox

by Brendan Galvin

There is no radical shift of light
or redwings calling areas of marsh
their territories yet, nor plovers
probing for copepods. Only a yellow
front-end loader laying out a new berm
on the beach, from tubes too heavy
to be called hoses, its audience one man
and his protesting dog. No frosted
wedding cake on tour, no Cap’n
Beauregard hailing us from
the Texas deck, no Texas deck,
just an unshaven crew launching zodiacs
from the county dredge, its twin stacks
staining itself and the air with smoke,
as battered an emblem of hope as any other.
So spring comes to Egg Island, squealing
and unwilling. Sulfur and diesel,
flywheel, gear and grind until one morning
the equinox dawns and silences
the whole shebang.


“An Egg Island Equinox” © by Brendan Galvin, Poetry magazine November 2016

Brendan Galvin (1938 – ), American poet, born in Massachusetts. His book, Habitat: New and Selected Poems 1965-2005, was a finalist for the 2005 National Book Award. He has published five books of poetry, including Ocean Effects, and Sky and Island Light

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I thought the Train would never come  (1449)

by Emily Dickinson

I thought the Train would never come —
How slow the whistle sang —
I don’t believe a peevish Bird
So whimpered for the Spring —
I taught my Heart a hundred times
Precisely what to say —
Provoking Lover, when you came
Its Treatise flew away
To hide my strategy too late
To wiser be too soon —
For miseries so halcyon
The happiness atone —


“I thought the Train would never come” from The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson (1960 edition) – Little, Brown, and Company

Emily Dickinson (1830-1886) American’s best-known woman poet and one of the nation’s greatest and most original authors, lived the life of a recluse in Amherst MA

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Spring

by William Blake

Sound the flute!
Now it’s mute!
Bird’s delight,
Day and night,
Nightingale,
In the dale,
Lark in sky,–
Merrily,
Merrily merrily, to welcome in the year.

Little boy,
Full of joy;
Little girl,
Sweet and small;
Cock does crow,
So do you;
Merry voice,
Infant noise;
Merrily, merrily, to welcome in the year.

Little lamb,
Here I am;
Come and lick
My white neck;
Let me pull
Your soft wool;
Let me kiss
Your soft face;
Merrily, merrily, to welcome in the year.


“Spring” from Songs of Innocence, by  William Blake Dover Publications

William Blake (1757-1827) was born in London, England. He was an English poet, painter, and printmaker. Largely unrecognised during his lifetime, he is now considered a seminal figure in the history of the poetry and visual arts of the Romantic Age

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About wordcloud9

Nona Blyth Cloud has lived and worked in the Los Angeles area for the past 50 years, spending much of that time commuting on the 405 Freeway. After Hollywood failed to appreciate her genius for acting and directing, she began a second career managing non-profits, from which she has retired. Nona has now resumed writing whatever comes into her head, instead of reports and pleas for funding. She lives in a small house overrun by books with her wonderful husband.
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