The Essence of August

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No wind, no bird. The river flames like brass.
On either side, smitten as with a spell
Of silence, brood the fields. In the deep grass,
Edging the dusty roads, lie as they fell
Handfuls of shriveled leaves from tree and bush.
But ’long the orchard fence and at the gate,
Thrusting their saffron torches through the hush,
Wild lilies blaze, and bees hum soon and late.
Rust-colored the tall straggling briar, not one
Rose left. The spider sets its loom up there
Close to the roots, and spins out in the sun5
A silken web from twig to twig. The air
Is full of hot rank scents. Upon the hill
Drifts the noon’s single cloud, white, glaring, still.
~Lizette Woodworth Reese “August”

 

This poem written decades ago
by a poet now long departed
describes in detail
what I see outside my back door today.
Yet an unknowing detail of her foresight
includes a truth of this August:
her flaming river
is flowing across thousands of acres
only a few dozen miles away,
leaving behind ashes,
and little else.

An essence of August:
drying to dust – only a little
remains of the day.

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2 thoughts on “The Essence of August

  1. her flaming river
    is flowing across thousands of acres
    only a few dozen miles away,
    leaving behind ashes,
    and little else.
    Yes–here, too, on the “safe” (for now) side of the Snake River–on the other side, 286,000 acres of ash and destruction from the Soda Fire in Idaho. Smoke billowing high for days, seemingly just beyond the hill behind our house–wondering where, in all these devastating fires, my granddaughter is–a wildlands firefighter. Courageous young woman–delight of my heart! And yet–at dawn this morning I went outside to crisp freshness and birdsong–a reminder of God’s faithfulness and nearness even in such times as these.

    Liked by 1 person

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