Poetry Sunday: September Midnight by Sara Teasdale

September seems to have been quite a popular topic for poets through the years. I googled "September poetry" and got a plethora of choices in reply. I decided to feature this one from 1914 by Sara Teasdale mostly because I liked its description of the "passionless chant of insects" that is, indeed, ceaseless and insistent at this time of year. The birds are mostly quiet now, many of them molting, and while they concentrate on growing new feathers, they tend to prefer to be as inconspicuous as possible. But the insects take up the slack and provide their own unique music - the music of late September, by which time we are all a little "tired with summer."

September Midnight

by Sara Teasdale 

Lyric night of the lingering Indian Summer,
Shadowy fields that are scentless but full of singing,
Never a bird, but the passionless chant of insects,
Ceaseless, insistent.

The grasshopper’s horn, and far-off, high in the maples,
The wheel of a locust leisurely grinding the silence
Under a moon waning and worn, broken,
Tired with summer.

Let me remember you, voices of little insects,
Weeds in the moonlight, fields that are tangled with asters,
Let me remember, soon will the winter be on us,
Snow-hushed and heavy.

Over my soul murmur your mute benediction,
While I gaze, O fields that rest after harvest,
As those who part look long in the eyes they lean to,
Lest they forget them.


  1. And "soon will the winter be on us, snow- hushed and heavy."

    1. At least in those places that have a true winter. No "snow - hushed and heavy" for us here on the Gulf Coast.

  2. Another good one from Teasdale! I love listening to the sound of crickets outside my window at night this time of year. :)

  3. What beautiful imagery. She nailed it!

    1. I find that her Nature poems are invariably on target.

  4. I think you are right. The birds are quiet here but the insects are incessant. We were shocked to see swarms of mosquitoes today when we did our butterfly monitoring. Fortunately, the butterfly numbers were up (from 9 two weeks ago to 37 today) as well.

    1. The mosquitoes have been really bad in my backyard recently. I like to sit out there late in the evening and they would devour me were it not for insect repellent.


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