The Waning Days of Summer 2016

When the soft silver
Drips shimmering
Over the garden nights,
Death, the gray mocker,
Comes and whispers to you
As a beautiful friend
Who remembers.

Under the summer roses
When the flagrant crimson
Lurks in the dusk
Of the wild red leaves,
Love, with little hands,
Comes and touches you
With a thousand memories,
And asks you
Beautiful, unanswerable questions.

Carl Sandburg’s Under The Harvest Moon

With the Harvest Moon waning in the Northern Hemisphere, the eventual countdown to Autumn has begun.  For us here in the northern parts September 22 is the official start of the Fall Season.

It has been a beautiful but very hot Summer for most of us.  As NASA reported:

Two key climate change indicators — global surface temperatures and Arctic sea ice extent — have broken numerous records through the first half of 2016, according to NASA analyses of ground-based observations and satellite data.

Each of the first six months of 2016 set a record as the warmest respective month globally in the modern temperature record, which dates to 1880, according to scientists at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York. The six-month period from January to June was also the planet’s warmest half-year on record, with an average temperature 1.3 degrees Celsius (2.4 degrees Fahrenheit) warmer than the late nineteenth century.

The question naturally arises—what to do with the next few days of Summer? It only takes a bit of imagination to make a list.

Of course, if you are working 40 plus hours a week, time is a luxury which you may not have. For others whose work days are over, the vast horizon of possibilities are abundant.

The dog always enjoys a walk as it reads the air—its daily newspaper.  If you live near a beach, there is always sand, birds and of course the water with a breeze.

Working outside is another opportunity to get some rays before the days are short.  Getting the house or flat ready for the change of season is always a necessity.

When I mowed on Thursday, I was surprised how many leaves had fallen on the ground already in my patch of woods.  Some trees are almost bare, but in the early morning light or in the twilight of the day their silhouettes are harbingers of the changing times.

Whatever you do with the last official calendar days of Summer, enjoy them. Not only live but thrive as the days slide into the fall foliage of colors and cooler nights.

Add some music to your soul.  Enjoy the last rose of Summer before the nips of frost touch the flora of nature’s vast display.

G. D. Williams © 2016

POST 683

The Last Rose of Summer

Thomas Moore (1779-1852)

Tis the last rose of summer
Left blooming alone;
All her lovely companions
Are faded and gone:
No flower of her kindred,
No rose-bud is nigh,
To reflect back her blushes,
Or give sigh for sigh.

I’ll not leave thee, thou lone one!
To pine on the stem;
Since the lovely are sleeping,
Go, sleep thou with them.
Thus kindly I scatter
Thy leaves o’er the bed,
Where thy mates of the garden
Lie scentless and dead.

So soon may I follow,
When friendships decay,
And from Love’s shining circle
The gems drop away.
When true hearts lie wither’d,
And fond ones are flown,
Oh! who would inhabit
This bleak world alone?

André Rieu: Point, Dublin, Ireland.

The Last Rose of Summer is a poem by Irish poet Thomas Moore, who was a friend of Byron and Shelley. Moore wrote it in 1805 while at Jenkinstown Park in County Kilkenny, Ireland. Sir John Stevenson set the poem to its beautiful melody and it was published in a collection of Moore’s work called Irish Melodies (1807-34). It was made popular in the twenty first century in a recording by Charlotte Church and the Irish Tenors.

This melody was used extensively throughout Friedrich von Flotow’s opera “Martha,” first performed in 1847 in Vienna. According to the Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians (1954), this opera was a remodelling from a ballet written in conjunction with Burgmuller and Deldevez and produced in Paris in 1844 as “Lady Henriette.” It stands to reason, based on the evidence, that Flotow made liberal use of Stevenson’s melody.


John McDermott:   Belfast


Celtic Woman:  Slane Castle, Ireland




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