Saturday, September 11, 2010

By All These Lovely Tokens

Helen Hunt Jackson

The goldenrod is yellow;
The corn is turning brown;
The trees in apple orchards
With fruit are bending down.

The gentian's bluest fringes
Are curling in the sun;
In dusty pods the milkweed
Its hidden silk has spun.

The sedges flaunt their harvest
In every meadow nook;
And asters by the brook-side
Make asters in the brook.

From dewy lanes at morning
The grapes' sweet odors rise;
At noon the roads all flutter
With yellow butterflies.

By all these lovely tokens
September days are here,
With summer's best of weather,
And autumn's best of cheer.

Eight years ago I found a used copy of Helen Ferris' Favorite Poems Old and New, an excellent poetry anthology for children. I quickly fell in love with September, and proceeded to read it to my little preschooler, Drew. He picked up a line here and there, but his favorite thing to chant was, "From dewy lanes!" (Dewy is a very fun word to say. Go ahead. Try it.) I can still hear his little voice shouting out that stanza and see that merry twinkle in his eye.

Every September since then, we've revisited these lines. This year was no exception. I opened the worn volume, and as soon as I said, "September . . . ." they knew what was coming. They all took part in shouting about the "dewy lanes" (because, you'll remember, dewy is a very fun word to say), and the school year was duly commenced.

Tuesday morning I looked over my wee brood and marveled. Drew, now in 7th grade, Bethie in 4th, Aidan in 2nd and Little Miss Avery Kate in Kindergarten. I read to these rapidly growing people of the beauty of September, of the "lovely tokens" that greet us each year -- the apples, the sedges, the butterflies -- and my cup overflowed as my heart continued to add it's own "lovely tokens" to the list: the comforting rhythm of September, children who are eager to learn, freshly sharpened pencils, a basket full of library books . . . .

My prayer for this year is that my list of lovely tokens won't be forgotten. The list continues daily, because my Father has loveliness to lavish daily. My freshly sharpened pencil is in hand, my eyes are open, my heart is yearning, and I'm ready. Oh, how I love September.

Apple Picking by Camille Pissarro 1886
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  1. And I love September because it's when you were born!

  2. I've always wondered if that's partly why I like it so much. But I guess I'll never know for sure. (Is everybody's favorite month their birthday month?)



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