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September 1918
Amy Lowell

This afternoon was the colour of water falling through sunlight;
The trees glittered with the tumbling of leaves;
The sidewalks shone like alleys of dropped maple leaves,
And the houses ran along them laughing out of square, open windows.
Under a tree in the park,
Two little boys, lying flat on their faces,
Were carefully gathering red berries
To put in a pasteboard box.
Some day there will be no war,
Then I shall take out this afternoon
And turn it in my fingers,
And remark the sweet taste of it upon my palate,
And note the crisp variety of its flights of leaves.
To-day I can only gather it
And put it into my lunch-box,
For I have time for nothing
But the endeavour to balance myself
Upon a broken world.
This poem is in the public domain.

Amy Lowell (1874 - 1925) was born in Brookline, Massachusetts, to a family of significant wealth and social standing. In keeping with the standards of the time, she received little formal education and was, in fact, a notoriously poor speller, but she was  an avid and discriminating collector of books, traveled extensively, and educated herself in many areas. Amy began writing and publishing when she was in her mid-twenties and, at one point, was publishing a book a year. A large, imposing woman fond of smoking cigars, Amy was a good promoter and a vocal advocate of poetry; that plus her reputation for eccentricity brought sell-out crowds to her readings and lectures.


Post New Comment:
Wilda Morris:
How appropriate! Thank you for introducing me to this poem.
Posted 09/05/2013 11:41 AM
Ginny C.:
I had not come across this poem before. How sad that it is as pertinent today as it was almost 100 years ago.
Posted 09/03/2013 04:42 PM
Thanks for posting this particular poem on this particular day. It's timely, it's beautiful and it is oh so poignant.
Posted 09/03/2013 04:17 PM
Thanks, Jayne. Beautiful and gripping.
Posted 09/03/2013 11:07 AM
A wonderful choice, Jayne. It sets the tone for today, for everyday.
Posted 09/03/2013 09:48 AM
Amy is one of my favorites. Lovely poem here!
Posted 09/03/2013 08:49 AM
Gail Goepfert:
Wonderful choice!
Posted 09/03/2013 08:23 AM
A timeless poem. Wish I had known Amy.
Posted 09/03/2013 07:10 AM

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