September

I’m home again. Summer’s enjoyed and done
and all returns now to its ancient way.
The apples fall, the grass has turned to hay.
On the planking walnuts clatter one by one.

The water lies transparent in the ditches,
gone is the ferment of the weeds and algae,
the gudgeon now approach perceptibly
more closely, dart away with rapid twitches.

One yellow rose has opened late and sweet,
drawing the butterflies that circle there.
The spiders weave their webs of gossamer
that quivers gently under tiny feet.

The distances are sealed and barred to sight
by banners of ground mist that drift and hover,
the firebreaks in the pinewoods have grown over,
the last migrating birds have taken flight.

I’m home again. Reflective and withdrawn.
A time for reading in the evening light,
drinking the rich milk of a poem that
under my gaze ripens to whey and cream.

From The Oldest Happiness (Het oudste geluk, 1995)
By Anton van Wilderode
Translated by Tanis Guest

First published in The Low Countries, 1999