Welcome to
Transactions with Beauty.
Thanks for being here.
I hope that this is a space that inspires you to add something beautiful to the world. I truly believe that 
you are required to make something beautiful.

– Shawna



August Light, August Poetry

August Light, August Poetry

Late August, late summer, late summer light. Our mood changes. I like the melancholy of this time of year, and I like the lower golden light.

Yet it feels strange, as it always does, to concentrate on the beauty of nature when the events of the world are as horrific as they have been this past week. But it's important, too, to take beauty breaks, to breathe, to bathe in forest light, to connect with trees, leaves, flowers. Immediately I say that, and it sounds frivolous, but I know my own need to centre myself is great at the moment, and that poetry is one way to do that. I've been back to small panic attacks and insomnia, slayed as we all are by the hatred displayed in Charlottesville and by the U.S. President. 

In case you also need a small break, breathing room, I'm offering some poems of August for your contemplation. The first is by the German poet Gottfried Benn


Never Lonelier

by Gottfried Benn

Never lonelier than in August: 
hour of plenitude—in the country
the red and golden tassels, 
but where is your pleasure garden?  

Soft skies and sparkling lakes, 
the healthy sheen of fields, 
but where is the pomp and display
of the empire you represent?  

Everything lays claim to happiness, 
swaps glances, swaps rings
in wine-breath, in the intoxication of things, 
you serve the counterhappiness, the mind.  



This next poem by Eve Merriam references August, and lets us feel how we might all be poets in this month. 

Reply to the Question: "How Can You Become a Poet?"

by Eve Merriam

take the leaf of a tree
trace its exact shape
the outside edges
and inner lines

memorize the way it is fastened to the twig
(and how the twig arches from the branch)
how it springs forth in April
how it is panoplied in July

by late August
crumple it in your hand
so that you smell its end-of-summer sadness

chew its woody stem

listen to its autumn rattle

watch it as it atomizes in the November air

then in winter
when there is no leaf left

invent one


I seem to be mentioning Anna Kamienska a lot lately. Here is a poem by the Polish poet about late summer:

Late Summer 

by Anna Kamienska

I’ll lock myself now
in a cell of prickly hay
to think through all from the beginning

A leaf a root an ant a hare
the sea a cloud a rock

I’ll think about them
as a sinner thinks
about his sins

I’ll ask myself
whether I regret very much
not belonging to a land of green

I’ll question how many times
I didn’t ask roots which way to go

I’ll repent before water a cloud
a birch-tree

I’ll wash their feet
and dress their wounds

Why can’t I be reconciled
to green rustling life
and sleep among mortal dreams

teach me to fall
on the indifferent earth

sunflowers and backyard

While this next and last poem by Langston Hughes isn't about late summer, or August, or even light, it's about right now, this August, this late summer. 


by Langston Hughes

I am so tired of waiting,
Aren't you,
For the world to become good
And beautiful and kind?
Let us take a knife
And cut the world in two –
And see what worms are eating
At the rind.


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