September

September

There's nothing quite like reading through older poems about September to really get a grasp on climate change. Or maybe it just feels that way because the summer weather hasn't broken yet, and I'm in the south.
I found a September poem by John Updike. I love it, so I'm sharing.
Although I've never read a novel by Updike, he exerted a strong influence on me. By chance (is anything, really?) I heard an interview with him in the mid-80's in which he said that he always wrote at least three pages every day. I've been writing three pages every morning since.
In the mid-90's, I heard part of another interview in which he said that there are stories that you tell your friends, stories that you tell yourself, and stories that you bury, and those last are the stories that you write about.
I lifted that almost word for word for one of my songs (Farther Still) , cited the Updike source from the stage one night, and an audience member came up to me after to tell me that the source was really Dostoevsky's Notes From Underground.
As soon as I could lay my hands on a copy, I read through the book, and sure enough, found the original quote. Exciting!
Finally, around 2007, I went to a book reading by Updike and carried his Still Lookingthrough a long, long book signing line. I made some comment (of which I have no recollection), and with a line streaming for rooms behind me, he stopped and considered what I'd said, as if we were sitting over coffee and had all the time in the world together, and offered a genuinely thoughtful response. I fell in love with him right there and then.
***
"The breezes taste
Of apple peel.
The air is full
Of smells to feel-
Ripe fruit, old footballs,
Burning brush,
New books, erasers,
Chalk, and such.
The bee, his hive,
Well-honeyed hum,
And Mother cuts
Chrysanthemums.
Like plates washed clean
With suds, the days
Are polished with
A morning haze."
- John Updike, September
***

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