Poem for the Cupertino Fall Festival “In A Dry Time”

Yesterday I was fortunate and honored to read a new poem, written for the occasion, at the Silicon Valley Fall Festival, held in the beautiful Memorial Park in Cupertino. Read more about the festival sponsors and events here. I was invited to read through my connections with the Cupertino Library Foundation and the Rotary Club. It was a  super event; I particularly enjoyed the high school art show and the robotics teams. I even bought a Christmas present for my sister-in-law at one of the booths. I had a lovely chat with

My dear friend Alice came to listen, and made a video with her phone, which you can view here on Flickr. The first line of the poem is missing from the video. That’s sometimes the way with technology, even here in Silicon Valley. There might be professional photos and video later, but for now, it’s a couple of us neighborhood amateurs.

(9/18/14 click through here for many photos from the great event.)


For those who weren’t in attendance, and for the couple of you I saw at the event and to whom I promised I would post, here’s the poem. I hope you enjoy it.

In A Dry Time

September in California is a dry time.
Have you seen the madrone bark curl?
Have you seen the mountain lion on the trail?
Do not fear.

September in California is a new year.
Have you seen school children with backpacks thumping,
their bicycle helmets beaded with morning fog?

September in California is still a flowering time.
You have seen the pink and white oleander blossoms winking
between dark green, dusty branches, heavy
along the highway, waving as you drive by golden hills.

Soon the dark and wet will find us.
Already the first Liquid Amber leaves are turning red.
Have you seen them still high in the trees?

We are September in California together,
in festivals, in flea markets and garage sales.
We will walk the booths looking for a silver pin,
a ruffled scarf, a book.
We will finger the red, green and purple bounty,
the tomatoes, the long beans, the okra on the farmers’ tables.
September in California is feast time.

Have you seen the moon as orange as a mango?

September in California is a waiting time.
Have you felt it, standing on-line for coffee, crossing the street
with your company badge banging gently against your hip?
Have you felt the changing angle of the sun,
the hot wind in the afternoon,
the air thick with that singed grass smell and car exhaust?

Soon enough the rain will come, but for now,
September waits with you.
September in California is a dry time,
but bright with glare glancing off the final days of summer.
Raise your hand, shield your eyes, we have a few more days.

for September 13, 2014
Cupertino’s Silicon Valley Fall Festival

(c) Jennifer Swanton Brown

(The photo above is of a madrone tree, with its characteristic red bark curling over green wood. The photos below are of the event. It was sure a sunny day!)

jennifer emoting her poem adj jennifer with dignitaries adj

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