Friday, August 30, 2019

My End of Summer Workspace and a Related Poem

We TeachingAuthors have been sharing pictures of the view from, or of, our workspace, so let me start with this one:

This photo isn't exactly the view from my workspace. I took it while on my afternoon walk through the neighborhood. The tree caught my attention because its leaves are already starting to change colors. Can you tell? As beautiful as it is, for me, the tree is a sad reminder that summer is winding down, at least here in North America.

I'd been hoping to get away for a writing retreat this month, to spend several days focused on my current work-in-progress. And I'd planned to have pictures to share from that retreat. Sadly, I didn't manage to get away. Instead, I've been setting aside days at home devoted to the project. The following photo was taken in my office, and it will give you some clues about my project.

As you've probably guessed, I've been spending time reading and writing poetry. Of course, if you subscribe to my Creativity Newsletter, you already knew that. I shared a draft of a just-for-fun poem in my last newsletter and you can read it online here. (If you'd like to subscribe to the newsletter, which I send out every other month, you can do so here.)

In addition to reading and writing poetry, I've been listening to it, too, thanks to the Daily Poem podcast. That's where I recently heard Jane Kenyon's Three Songs at the End of Summer.   
Here's an excerpt from the poem:

Three Songs at the End of Summer (excerpt)
            by Jane Kenyon

A second crop of hay lies cut  
and turned. Five gleaming crows  
search and peck between the rows.
They make a low, companionable squawk,  
and like midwives and undertakers  
possess a weird authority.

Crickets leap from the stubble,  
parting before me like the Red Sea.  
The garden sprawls and spoils.

Across the lake the campers have learned  
to water ski. They have, or they haven’t.  
Sounds of the instructor’s megaphone  
suffuse the hazy air. “Relax! Relax!”

Cloud shadows rush over drying hay,  
fences, dusty lane, and railroad ravine.  
The first yellowing fronds of goldenrod  
brighten the margins of the woods.

Schoolbooks, carpools, pleated skirts;  
water, silver-still, and a vee of geese. . . .

       Copyright © 2005 by the Estate of Jane Kenyon. 

Read all of “Three Songs at the End of Summer” at the Poetry Foundation website.

I'm looking forward to reading lots more great poetry today via the Poetry Friday roundup, which is hosted this week by Australian author and poet Kathryn Apel.

Remember to always Write with Joy! 


Linda B said...

It seems that you're having a lovely end of summer with poetry, Carmela. Hard to believe the look of that tree. I haven't seen anything but a somewhat dullness of the leaves so far. How wonderful a voice Jane Kenyon has, and those 'red leather straps' took me way back. I had forgotten about 'satchels'. Have a wonderful weekend!

Carmela Martino said...

Thanks, Linda. Yes, that tree really surprised me. I think it's a bit early still. A great reminder to savor summer.

Linda Mitchell said...

I always see the leaves as friends that have started to look a little tired. It's a bittersweet feeling isn't it? I love the Jane Kenyon poem. Those first Vs of geese always make me want to capture their dramatic changes in writing.

Kay said...

Thanks for sharing the Jane Kenyon poem - such a great invitation to savor these moments while they last. I've need noticing the approach of fall here, too. Good luck with your current project.

Joyce Ray said...

Jane Kenyon's poems touch a chord every time.I love her internal and occasional rhyme. And this alliteration: "...a crow, hectoring high in the hemlock...". The dichotomy in the last three lines of your cicada poem is perfect -surprising and calling us to pay attention to what other aspects of nature we might be missing. Best wishes on your new project!

Whispers from the Ridge said...

This is one of my all time favorite poems! It speaks to me in so many ways. Thank you for giving me the chance to read it again and again!

Carmela Martino said...

Yes, Linda Mitchell, the changing of the leaves is indeed bittersweet.
Thanks for the encouragement for my project, Kay.
Joyce Ray, thanks for taking time to give me feedback on my cicada poem. The cicadas are still here, but they don't seem so loud anymore.
Kiesha at Whispers from the Ridge, so glad I chose one of your favorites! This poem was entirely new to me.
Thanks for stopping by, all!

KatApel - said...

What a scrumptious Jane Kenyon poem! I love it - so much imagery! Thank-you for bringing it to my eyes. Your cicada poem was a delight. Made me smile. :)

author amok said...

"Like midwives and undertakers
possess a weird authority." Such a wonderful observation about crows. They *are* like undertakers.

Carol Varsalona said...

It is the end of summer now that Labor Day is upon us and these strung-together thoughts from the poem make me ponder what is to come: Schoolbooks, carpools, pleated skirts;
water, silver-still, and a vee of geese. Silver-still is such a beautiful word. Thanks for sharing the 3 Songs poem. I like your Cicada poem. I have not heard any yet this summer. If you would like to offer your poem for my Embraceable Summer Gallery, I would love to showcase it. You can see last year's gallery at

Carmela Martino said...

KatApel, I'm so glad my Cicada poem made you smile! :-)
Laura at author amok: those lines really hit me too!
Carol, we typically hear the cicadas here beginning in August, but they arrived early this year--I wrote the Cicada poem on June 26. I'd be honored to see it included in your Embraceable Summer Gallery. I just tweeted an image of it and tagged you in the post. If you'd like me to email it directly to you, please send me your email address.