Poetry at the Post-Ohio Redux: Finding Another Alice

“Autumn”
BY ALICE CARY (1820–1871)

Shorter and shorter now the twilight clips
The days, as though the sunset gates they crowd,

1850 portrait of Alice Cary in New York City which hangs in her childhood home in North College Hill, Ohio .Photo courtesy of Rick Dikeman
1850 portrait of Alice Cary in New York City which hangs in her childhood home in North College Hill, Ohio .Photo courtesy of Rick Dikeman

Over the weekend I made a quick trip to Ohio for the confluence of an 8th grade reunion & a visit to a failing mother. 8th grade reunion??? Yes. This was our third one!

How did we all fit in that small classroom?

Those who made us laugh when we were kids can make us laugh again.

While those who had a flare for the dramatic arts still do.

Alice Cary and her sister, Phoebe, were born in Mt. Healthy, Ohio—not that far from my elementary school—and raised on a farm that is now a part of North College Hill. Their poetry was noticed by famous writers such as Edgar Allen Poe. After their book Poems of Alice and Phoebe Cary was published, the two sisters moved to New York City, where they became part of the literary salon scene.

Cary Cottage, childhood home of Alice and Phoebe Cary near Cincinnati, Ohio
Cary Cottage, childhood home of Alice and Phoebe Cary near Cincinnati, Ohio

Our reunion was held on the summer solstice, the day that marks the changeover from the lengthening of the day to its shortening. For me, this day evokes the season that follows, or “Autumn.”

The robin, that was busy all the June,
Before the sun had kissed the topmost bough,

Yet, the day was June, a time of pop-out green in Cincinnati.

And BTW, second grade besties are still the best.

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