Fire in the woodstove and a thick mist wrapping the house. The mountains and the bay erased. Autumn has descended and I am grateful for what I hope will be a “season of mists and mellow fruitfulness.” Tomorrow September.
How was your summer? Busy? Too busy? You know those tasks are not over. The garden is still brimming. Some lazy early autumn hikes still to conquer. Still, autumn usually heralds a changeover from “busy outside” to “busy inside.”
It is back to school for me, in real time the class I’m teaching began on Monday and metaphorically because once again I’m battening down the hatches to submit poetry. Yep, I’m going to return to my three poems to one prospect each week schedule. Why just this week I was lucky enough to see one my poems make it out into the world at the wonderful Thrush Poetry Journal. I’m sure to be schooled again by those hard knocks of poems passed over, but there must be a home for most of them.
Autumn is a fine time to consider our gifts. This evening, small birds are flitting from low branches to the feeder, scooping small seeds and then disappearing into the murk. I consider the series of poems that is growing steadily from my current exercise of writing two poems a week, each titled with a line from “Song of Myself.” Whitman’s great poem becoming my horn book.
Let me leave with the rest of Keats’s poem “To Autumn.” Let us celebrate our lives, most of us have reaped many more years than Keats who died at the tender age of 25. And although his name may have been writ in water, it is a water that moves us still.
To Autumn by John Keats
Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For summer has o’er-brimm’d their clammy cells.
Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reap’d furrow sound asleep,
Drows’d with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers:
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
Steady thy laden head across a brook;
Or by a cyder-press, with patient look,
Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours.
Where are the songs of spring? Ay, Where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,—
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
Among the river sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
The red-breast whistles from a garden-croft;
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.