For the Anniversary of My Death
Every year without knowing it I have passed the day
When the last fires will wave to me
And the silence will set out
Like the beam of a lightless star
Then I will no longer
Find myself in life as in a strange garment
Surprised at the earth
And the love of one woman
And the shamelessness of men
As today writing after three days of rain
Hearing the wren sing and the falling cease
And bowing not knowing to what
— WS. Merwin, from The Lice (1967)
September less septembery by the year. Unseasonably warm the new normal. The leaves planning, apparently, on staying green until far into October. The undiminished fecundity of nature seems to perversely be multiplying the thoughts of mortality that always creep in at the start of autumn. I’m worried about more extensive, deeper kinds of extinction than my own, now.
I keep thinking of that essay by Zadie Smith I blogged about this spring. Singing an elegy for the stolen seasons seems appropriate, as the world leaders gather in New York to agree to keep doing nothing, fast. I listen to songs written a few years before I was born or in my childhood and notice that lyrics about September always include references to naked branches and a feeling of leaves falling, falling, falling. I look out the window now, and the colours have barely turned. A yellowing green field, as far as the eye can see.
Apologies for the absence, everyone. I have been occupied with real life (children! work! housing! mortgages!). I hope to recommence posting here about now.