To the Light of September

A Poem by W S Merwin

When you are already here
you appear to be only
a name that tells of you
whether you are present or not

and for now it seems as though
you are still summer
still the high familiar
endless summer
yet with a glint
of bronze in the chill mornings
and the late yellow petals
of the mullein fluttering
on the stalks that lean
over their broken
shadows across the cracked ground

but they all know
that you have come
the seed heads of the sage
the whispering birds
with nowhere to hide you
to keep you for later

you
who fly with them

you who are neither
before nor after
you who arrive
with blue plums
that have fallen through the night

perfect in the dew

For reflection in solitude or in the company of others: The poet invites us to stand with him in early September, “neither before nor after”, on the cusp of autumn, and to experience a moment when we know that change is coming but is not yet here. What changes in your life are certainly coming soon, but are only hinted at right now? Merwin is confident that the coming autumn is bringing at least one perfect gift. What is it? What perfect gift might God be offering you on the other side of change?

Cathedral of the Incarnation