Do you feel it in the air? The last whispers of summer are slipping away. Many of us grow wistful this time of year, and dear Emily Dickinson (1830-1886) was no exception. Fortunately, she could find words for the sense of loss that accompanies the passing of a cherished season. One of the greatest of all nature poets expressed the ineffable in a work first published as October, but usually referenced by its first, evocative line:
These are the days when Birds come back —
A very few — a Bird or two —
To take a backward look.
These are the days when skies resume
The old — old sophistries of June —
A blue and gold mistake.
Oh fraud that cannot cheat the Bee —
Almost thy plausibility
Induces my belief.
Till ranks of seeds their witness bear —
And softly thro’ the altered air
Hurries a timid leaf.
Oh Sacrament of summer days,
Oh Last Communion in the Haze —
Permit a child to join.
Thy sacred emblems to partake —
They consecrated bread to take
And thine immortal wine!