September, 1918 by Amy Lowell: Reading and Meditation

May 8, 2020  • Kalissa Hendrickson

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September, 1918, Amy Lowell


A key element of happiness is the act of practicing gratitude. Lately, however, I have found it impossible to enter a space of gratitude without accompanying feelings of guilt and confusion. Things that should bring me joy—the sunshine, the safety of my family and friends, listening to music while taking my dog for a walk—feel hollow. I experience my day through a haze of doubt and uncertainty, able to recognize but unable to appreciate.

I find solidarity in Amy Lowell’s “September, 1918”, a work exploring the disconnect between the beauty of the prosaic and the horror of a world beset by war and disease. The poem’s rich descriptions and appeals to the senses, key facets of the imagist school of poetry Lowell championed, stand in contrast with a narrator who is in a constant “endeavor to balance…/Upon a broken world.” The poem’s narrator is my ally, letting me know that sometimes taking a moment to recognize is all one can do. It is enough to simply be present—to observe, to detail, to remember. Moments need not be momentary, and beauty can be revisited. If you are able, take time today to observe the world around you. What do you see? What do you taste? What do you hear? What do you feel? What moments from your day can you save away to be revisited when you have found your balance? 

Kalissa Hendrickson, Phoenix, Arizona

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