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Richard Crowson Commentary

Richard Crowson: Under The Spell Of Poetry In Autumn

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Something about September has brought poetry back into my consciousness.

It might be the way the amber, diffused light knocks the sharp edges off of summer’s harsh palette. It could be the rhythmic pulsations of the crickets that seem to serenade just outside every window. Possibly it has to do with the mild temperatures previewing just the slightest hint of the chill that will soon set fireplaces aglow.

Forty years back I worked alongside a poet. Floyd Collins and I were clerks in the library of Memphis State University. As clerks, we had, to put it kindly, minimal prowess. We reserved most of our energy for wide-ranging conversation and the sort of friendly verbal sparring that always seems to effervesce from 25-year-old psyches.

I lost touch with Floyd over the next decades, and, really, with poetry in general.

Recently, I felt the urge to reconnect. I found his email address and we have rekindled our friendship. He sent me a couple of his recent collections of poems and they have helped me lately as I’ve fallen under the spell of September’s soft early autumn days.

Pumpkins, bales of hay and decorative scarecrows are starting to grace front yards. Floyd’s poem about a tattered scarecrow in a fall cornfield contains this line:

“Under a sky

brilliant with stars

He listens for the sound of night’s Celestial clock”

How good it is to have poets shine their amber light on our world as the Celestial clock ticks through another September.