September, with Travellers

August Kleinzahler

Coolness at evening,
a delicate astringent

It seems only last week
those sunsets,
like gardens of sky
in all their extravagance,
kept on without end,

the lightest of breezes,
trembling sage.

Now, the curtains drawn
earlier each evening,
the dinner wine left half-finished.

One guest after another
passing through.
A few quiet hours here,
a long, difficult journey from town,
before heading on.

What is the expression?
Gathering one’s thoughts
as if kindling or hen-of-the-woods,
or perhaps something rarer still.

Rueful smiles,
their dear, ageing faces ...
Never time enough

before having to head back,
back to where they left off.