September by Helen Hunt Jackson
The golden rod is yellow, the corn is turning brown; The trees in apple orchards With fruit are bending down.
The gentian's bluest fringes Are curling in the sun; In dusty pods the milkweed Its hidden silk has spun.
The sedges flaunt their harvest, In every meadow nook; And asters by the broadside Make asters in the brook.
By all these lovely tokens September days are here, With summer's best of wealth And autumn's best of cheer.
–Helen Hunt Jackson 1830-1885
Born in Amherst, Massachusetts, Helen Hunt Jackson and another Amherst poet of the same age, Emily Dickinson, were friends. Helen Hunt Jackson’s passion and contribution to society came in political advocacy. She called out the government for its systematic neglect and mistreatment of American Indians. For that she will be remembered and honored.
Reading the pleasant but unexceptional verse above, one understands Dickinson’s appraisal of her friend’s poetic gifts: “She has the facts but not the phosphorescence.”