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Poetry and Music for September


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
Like plates washed clean
With suds, the days
Are polished with
A morning haze.

“September” by John Updike from A Child’s Calendar. John Updike was a two-time Pulitzer Prize winning novelist born in 1932. He is one of only three authors to win the Pulitzer Prize for fiction more than once. During his career, he wrote an average of one book a year, and published more than 20 novels, a dozen short story collections, poetry and more.


The golden-rod 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.

But none of all this beauty
Which floods the earth and air
Is unto me the secret
Which makes September fair.

'T is a thing which I remember;
To name it thrills me yet:
One day of one September
I never can forget.

“September” by Helen Hunt Jackson. Born in 1830, Helen Hunt Jackson was an American poet, writer, and activist. She began writing after the deaths of her two sons and her first husband. Her early work was published anonymously. Her poetry was admired by Ralph Waldo Emerson who read several of her poems publicly, and she counted Emily Dickinson among one of her friends. As an activist, she worked tirelessly to improve treatment of Native Americans by the U.S. Government.2


“September” from The Seasons by Tchaikovsky. The Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky wrote The Seasons as a set of twelve piano pieces. “September: The Hunt” was composed to celebrate the Russian hunting season.3



1.       More of John Updike’s biography can be found here.
2.       More of Helen Hunt Jackson’s biography can be found here.
3.       More about Tchaikovsky’s The Seasons can be found here.


Alisa Williams is Spirituality Editor at
Photo Credit: Tom Novak /


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