Ripe apples, back to school, my birthday, blackberries, evening classes, woolen scarves, crispy air and pink skies. These are just some of the things I like about September.
We’ve been collecting apples from our trees for the last few days. We have just two – a crab and an apple blossom. The crab is still young so not enough fruits yet for jelly, but their colour brightens up the garden (below), a last hurrah before the Autumn settles in.
All this talk of September and apples brought the much loved Irish poet Patrick Kavanagh to mind. His poem ‘On An Apple-Ripe September Morning’ with its imagery of early Autumn and the threshing recalls another time. Men folk gathered together to get the crops in, neighbours and friends lending a hand or paying their dues and all the loose chatter and gossip in between. Nature soaks through the lines – mist-chill fields, wet leaves of the cocksfoot and glistening bog-holes. The last verse ends on a note of awe and admiration towards all this beauty ‘I knew as I had entered that I had come through fields that were part of no earthly estate.’
On An Apple-Ripe September Morning
On an apple-ripe September morning
Through the mist-chill fields I went
With a pitch-fork on my shoulder
Less for use than for devilment.
The threshing mill was set-up, I knew,
In Cassidy’s haggard last night,
And we owed them a day at the threshing
Since last year. O it was delight
To be paying bills of laughter
And chaffy gossip in kind
With work thrown in to ballast
The fantasy-soaring mind.
As I crossed the wooden bridge I wondered
As I looked into the drain
If ever a summer morning should find me
Shovelling up eels again.
And I thought of the wasp’s nest in the bank
And how I got chased one day
Leaving the drag and the scraw-knife behind,
How I covered my face with hay.
The wet leaves of the cocksfoot
Polished my boots as I
Went round by the glistening bog-holes
Lost in unthinking joy.
I’ll be carrying bags to-day, I mused,
The best job at the mill
With plenty of time to talk of our loves
As we wait for the bags to fill.
Maybe Mary might call round…
And then I came to the haggard gate,
And I knew as I entered that I had come
Through fields that were part of no earthly estate.
(1904 – 1967)