Today I Remember September

Categories: National Poetry Month,Poetry,Uncategorized

ItalyCountry

 

September

 

Today I remember September:

The dust rising up as we walked,

Sometimes alone, sometimes in pairs,

Travelers all, from far-flung continents,

pilgrims on this particular journey.

Each day like a dream,

one after the other unfolding.

 

It’s true then, you never know

how something will change you,

only that it will. You hold

hands over vows you will break.

You close the door and lock

behind you empty rooms.

You drive away from work

you wanted so badly.

 

Every step on this hill to Panzano

a string of losses, until finally,

you begin to expect them,

not with dread or resignation,

but something like grace.

 

You will mourn and rejoice,

count the memories of loved ones

gone, catch the profile that catches

your breath. Years later find yourself

laughing mid-story, moved to tears.

We find ourselves, here, now

 

under the shimmering florescence

of a tiny butcher shop, chops and salamis,

roasts and marrow, the Blessed Virgin

looking on, just emerged from the quiet

olive grove, a spontaneous afternoon

feast spread on white linens, couples

in love, our faces now upturned

Dario’s voice cadence rising, falling,

Dante’s Divina Comedia, the soul’s

journey to inferno, paradiso.

 

Who lives like this? Indeed. Who?

 

This is the nature of things: beginnings

and endings, arrivals, departures.

The journey and the coming home,

coming home, coming home.

 

The face you always knew, suddenly

not your face, but someone else,

softened by love and afternoon light.

 

For what will I be grateful

when I lay this body down?

 

Each parting, sweet, particular, acute.

 

September is my favorite month. I’m not sure if it’s because it’s my birth month or not, but I should probably mention that. September was always the end of summer and the beginning of a new school year, which I loved both as a child and as an adult teacher. It was the time of harvest, of moving on, of loss and gain. The primary narrative of this poem is a trip to Tuscany I took in 2010 with the poet David Whyte and 20 travelers, pilgrims, from around the world. It was a magical time for me: loving Italy again, learning about my birth father’s death, reclaiming my poet self, and the backdrop of the hills outside Florence on the verge of harvest was ripe in every way.

 

— From Somehow: New and Selected Poems, by Libby Wagner, Brassy Press © 2012

 

Libby Wagner
Author: Libby Wagner

Libby makes her home in a lovely West Seattle neighborhood in a house with turquoise walls and an amazing view of the Puget sound and Olympic mountains. A former Air Force “brat”, she continues to bounce from one corner of the world to the other, working with Fortune 500 clients, hopeful artists and authors, and aspiring entrepreneurs. She has a Master’s in Fine Arts and Poetry from Eastern Washington University where she also began working in the Writers in the Prison program.