Monday, September 28, 2015

September (A Poem by John Updike)

Not long ago, I came across this poem in my files. I thought it would be a wonderful thing to post in these waning days of September.

~by John Updike

The breezes taste
Of apple peel.
The air is full
Of smells to feel-
Ripe fruit, old footballs,
Burning brush,
New books, erasers,
Chalk, and such.
The bee, his hive,
Well-honeyed hum,
And Mother cuts
Like plates washed clean
With suds, the days
Are polished with
A morning haze.

Isn't that a wonderful poem? It has many elements of a list poem; its simplicity and concreteness could also make this a great poem for children to model.

In fact, it was written for children, a fact that surprised me a little given Updike as the author. I actually went hunting online to discover if the poet was truly the John Updike, because I never knew he wrote anything specifically for children. It turns out that he actually wrote an entire collection of poems about the months of the year. It's called A Child's Calendar and the "new edition" published in 1999 has illustrations by Trina Schart Hyman, whose picture book St. George and the Dragon I love. 

Although I love the list-iness of this poem, I'm especially fond of the first lines:
The breezes taste
Of apple peel.
The air is full
Of smells to feel-

Breezes we can taste and smells we can feel in the air. Might be a cool way to introduce the concept of synesthesia to children.

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