September Song

by Sonya Taaffe

for Colin and Randi, September 12, 2009

I. Bedmaking
	The orchard grass is spread with silver,
	candles of crabapple and quince and pear
	kindling flammea at every bole.
	Behind the clearing sky, the constellations
	are changing figures in a dance,
	the lion who prowls in his pelt of hops
	and honey locust, the bull over whose back
	summer vaults, the dove with wings folded
	white as signed papers between catspaws
	of unspilled ink: lares, all, who lie with
	this month between two angles of light;
	the sun holds with fingers of ivy still
	to the dreaming brick, uncurling green,
	ghosts roost like angels in every burning tree.
	Though they sing in the sweep and mowing,
	not a flower will fall before the frost’s clip.
	Seven fires are dying on the hills.

II. The Hyacinth and the Apple (After Sappho)
	The windfall drops, the blossom springs;
	together they rest in the light of leaves,
	untrodden, unstolen, bright and whole.

III. The Fall
	When you put back her veil, it will cling to touch
	like cat-ice among brambles, the filigree of rain
	shivered from a spider's web in the whitening dawn.

	He will take from your hand not an apple,
	but a handful of rowan fruit, rosehips and haws,
	the hedge-teachings of the underworld.

	Wild grape and winter rye bind your wrists
	no tighter than a hand's clasp, ringed fast with gold
	of the sky-roaming merlin's eye --

	beneath the quarter moon and standing sun,
	take the first step. Now the year can move.
	Cast one another's shadows all your lives.

Sonya Taaffe has a confirmed addiction to myth, folklore, and dead languages. Poems and short stories of hers have won the Rhysling Award, been shortlisted for the SLF Fountain Award and the Dwarf Stars Award, and been reprinted in The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror, The Alchemy of Stars: Rhysling Award Winners Showcase, The Best of Not One of Us, and Trochu divné kusy 3. A selection of her work can be found in Postcards from the Province of Hyphens and Singing Innocence and Experience (Prime Books). She holds masters degrees in Classics from Brandeis and Yale and once named a Kuiper belt object.

Having no good answer for the question, "If a miller's daughter pulled you from a pond, what story-speaking instrument would she watch you become?" she asked three friends for their thoughts and was told:

"An electric harp?"
"You would be an ocarina, no?"
"A shade of yourself, singing ballads. Possibly with a sea-change involved, though possibly not."

Feel free to leave suggestions of your own at Myth Happens. She's still trying to figure out the ocarina.

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