Poetry Project — October 2017

Ahhhh, we have Tanita to thank for this month’s challenge. I was daunted — I don’t know why. Maybe because the form is based on hymns, and my upbringing had me at a little interfaith chapel — only when it didn’t interfer with skiing.

Anyway, just like improv, when one of our Poetry Sisters throws down a challenge, the rest of us say, “Yes, and…”

So here we go — a poem with the theme of autumn, set to a hymnal rhyme scheme and meter (a la Isaac Watts or Emily Dickinson).

It Doesn’t Feel Like Fall
(A Hymn of Middle Age)

By Liz Garton Scanlon

While all the trees are evergreen
and sunshine evergold
I cannot make my heart careen
from young and bright, to cold.

I cannot play the part of crone
or slip on wisdom’s dress
when I’m still feeling barely grown
and hardly self-possessed.

They say a change is coming soon –
a chill is in the air –
so why do I insist it’s June,
wear blossoms in my hair?

Because! The calendar is blind
to things that just abide –
the bulbs that flowers leave behind,
the heartbeat of the tide.

So never mind the month now,
and never mind the time…
this girl’s a girl still, anyhow,
this season, sweet, sublime.

Some of my sisters were more nuanced and sophisticated with the form than I was. Have a look!

And Poetry Friday is at Violet Nesdoly Poems today!
Enjoy, my friends….

Posted on 10/06/2017 05:20 am


  1. How I love that you’ve made this a hymn of middle age (not a hymn TO middle age, I note!) I still think your fourth stanza is my favorite—that cheeky “because!” and the notion of the calendar being blind to the quiet, abiding ones, and the exquisite “heartbeat of the tide.” Well-hymned, forever girl.


  2. While some things change, much remains the same, doesn’t it. Your poem reminds me of a quote from a writer (maybe Madeleine L’Engle, but I can’t quite remember) that says she still contains all the ages that came before. While the body may be firmly in middle age, still hold within me the girl I once was. Don’t we all?


  3. I’m not sure any of us were more sophisticated with this form — it doesn’t lend itself to too much in that vein, but you’ve certainly elevated it to art, as it deserves. Here’s to wearing leaves in our curls (some frizzier than others, *cough*) and being as evergreen as we wanna be.


  4. I love that you’ve made this about resistance to change and aging. This struck me and I laughed:
    “when I’m still feeling barely grown
    and hardly self-possessed.”

    There I times when I hardly feel like a grown up and simply don’t want to “adult.”

    I also love the last stanza and the fact that you’ve stood your ground. Hell, I love all of it.


  5. Your lovely “hymn” has nuance and sublimity aplenty. Love the stanza:

    “They say a change is coming soon –
    a chill is in the air –
    so why do I insist it’s June,
    wear blossoms in my hair?”



  6. Maybe I should quit whining that summer won’t let loose of us, that fall isn’t acting like fall. Maybe it’s the living illustration of your poem!! In that case, Blaze away, Summer! Fall can wait!!


  7. Lovelovelove this. I wish I had written it. From evergold to the heartbeat of the tide… You expressed my feelings much better than I could have done myself–like all the best poetry does!


  8. I Love the movement you created between the lines and then the stanzas-escalating to the end. Some of us will always be girls regardless of our age or season, thanks Liz!


  9. Keep pushing back as the clock tries to move forward and resist! Nice job!


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