Enjoy the days of fall

Published 12:00 am Sunday, November 3, 2002

The national newscaster this morning spoke of national politics, of the battle of the budget, of the coming election, of Israel and Palestine, of Iraq and Afghanistan, of the snipers, of women and breast cancer, and of course, the weather.

At 25 minutes after the hour, state and local news had its five minutes.

The news team spoke of state politics, of crime in the streets, of children in need of decent classrooms, and of course, the weather.

Nothing new in the news, I thought, switching off the set. Nothing I can do anything about any of it, anyway,

except, possibly, somehow, the education crisis in Alabama schools. Please, I want to say to someone in authority, to someone who will answer this question: When are we, the people of this sovereign state, going to stop short-changing our children?

Alas, that is an answer only we the people can give.

As I stepped outside a little later I was greeted by a day only early autumn in the deep South can bring. Fleecy white clouds floated gently against an April blue sky (In October, I questioned?). A soft breeze brought the scent of freshly-turned soil and early bulbs waiting beneath it, and in sheer delight, I thought of lines from a favorite poem:

And over it softly a warm ear lays.&uot;

One verse of poetry led to another as I drove to work.

I am a lover of poetry and find it a joy as well as solace. Because the year seems to be at its autumn, let us put aside for a moment those things which we cannot change, seek divine guidance with those which might possibly be changed and for a moment give ourselves up to Edna St. Vincent Millay, who advises:

&uot;I will be the gladdest thing under the sun!

I will touch a hundred flowers

And not pick one.

I will look at cliffs and clouds

With quiet eyes,

Watch the wind bow down the grass

And the grass rise.

And when lights begin to show

Up from the town,

I will mark which must be mine,

And then start down.

CITY TREES

The trees along this city street,

Save for the traffic and the trains,

Would make a sound as thin and sweet

As trees in country lanes.

And people standing in their shade

Out of a shower, undoubtedly

Would hear such music as is made

Upon a country tree.

O little leaves that are so dumb

Against the shrieking city air,

I watch you when the wind has come –

I know what sound is there.

PORTRAIT BY A NEIGHBOR

Before she has her floor swept

Or her dishes done,

Any day you’ll find her

A-sunning in the sun.

It’s long after midnight

Her key is in the lock,

And you never see her chimney smoke

She digs in her garden

With a shovel and a spoon,

She weeds her lazy lettuce

By the light of the moon,

She walks up the walk

Like a woman in a dream,

She forgets she borrowed butter

And pays you back cream!

Her lawn looks like a meadow,

And if she mows the place

She leaves the clover standing

And the Queen Anne’s Lace!

John Keats expresses spring in beauty.

I STOOD TIPTOE UPON A LITTLE HILL

I stood tiptoe upon a little hill;

The air was cooling and so very still,

That the sweet buds which with a modest pride

Pull droopingly, in slanting curve aside

Their scanty-leaved and finely-tapering stems,

Had not yet lost their starry diadems

Caught from the early sobbing of the morn.

The clouds were pure and white as flocks new-shorn,

And fresh from the clear brook; sweetly they slept

On the blue fields of heaven, and then there crept

A little noiseless noise among the leaves,

Born of the very sigh that silence heaves;

For not the faintest motion could be seen

Of all the shades that slanted o’er the green.

And then these words, these perfect words, ended my morning song of praise:

THE CREATION by Cecil Frances Alexander

He gave us eyes to see them,

And lips that we might tell

How is God Almighty,

Who has made all things well.

Amen and Amen!