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Autumn--seasonal poems and books

15 years ago

I love the change of seasons and now, on the first of October, it really feels like autumn in New England. Poetry, essays and books that evoke the seasons are a special pleasure to read as the seasons change. One of my favorites for fall has always been the old standard by Helen Hunt Jackson, "October's Bright Blue Weather". Anyone have some favorites to share?

Comments (12)

  • colormeconfused
    15 years ago

    Someone asked me recently what my favorite season is and why. I responded that my favorite time of year is autumn partly because it has the best poems.

    My favorites are Ode to the West Wind by Percy Bysshe Shelley, My November Guest and October by Robert Frost, and a few by Emily Dickinson as well as Christina Rossetti, Saigyo, and the many haiku of Basho. There are others, too, but I can't remember them at the moment. Maybe they'll come to me later.

  • ginny12
    Original Author
    15 years ago

    Lovely suggestions--and more highly regarded from a literary standpoint, to be sure. I hope it's not wrong to like some of the old American favorites whose reputation has been demoted since their glory days. Another that occurred to me was James Whitcomb Riley's "When the Frost is on the Punkin". The Hoosier Poet was still taught in my elementary school days.

  • lemonhead101
    15 years ago

    "Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness" - I love the autumn, but here in Texas, it takes a while to get here.... I miss the English autumnal months - the mist, the cooling temperatures, the crisp air....

  • friedag
    15 years ago

    I hope it's not wrong to like some of the old American favorites whose reputation has been demoted since their glory days.It's certainly not wrong! Not in mind, at least. I love the dialect and the rhythm of "When the Frost is on the Punkin." And speaking of James Whitcomb Riley, it's always about this time of year that I recall "Little Orphant Annie" -- An' the gobble-uns'll git you
    Ef you

    And I like Thomas Hood for the darker days of autumn:

    No sun--no moon--no morn--no noon,
    No dawn--no dusk--no proper time of day,
    No warmth--no cheerfulness--no heatlthful ease,
    No road, no street, no t'other side the way,
    No comfortable feel in any member--
    No shade, no shine, no butterfiles, no bees,
    No fruits, no flowers, no leaves, no birds, November!

    Also, his:
    I saw old Autumn in the misty morn
    Stand shadowless like silence, listening
    To silence.

    I don't get to enjoy actual autumn very much anymore, but it is still my favorite season when I think about it.

  • lemonhead101
    15 years ago

    Ode 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 mossÂd 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 oÂer-brimmÂd 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-reapÂd furrow sound asleep,
    DrowsÂd 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,Â
    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.

  • colormeconfused
    15 years ago

    Ginny12, I have one book of poetry that has several autumn poems by poets who are mostly unknown to me since, as you say, they are no longer in their glory days. The poems, though, are truly little treasures.

  • veronicae
    15 years ago

    This one has shown up on two totally unrelated sites that I visit each day. There's a message in that, so I am going for the trifecta:

    October's Party
    by George Cooper

    October gave a party;
    The leaves by hundreds came-
    The Chestnuts, Oaks, and Maples,
    And leaves of every name.
    The Sunshine spread a carpet,
    And everything was grand,
    Miss Weather led the dancing,
    Professor Wind the band.

    The Chestnuts came in yellow,
    The Oaks in crimson dressed;
    The lovely Misses Maple
    In scarlet looked their best;
    All balanced to their partners,
    And gaily fluttered by;
    The sight was like a rainbow
    New fallen from the sky.

    Then, in the rustic hollow,
    At hide-and-seek they played,
    The party closed at sundown,
    And everybody stayed.
    Professor Wind played louder;
    They flew along the ground;
    And then the party ended
    In jolly "hands around."

  • sheriz6
    15 years ago

    Autumn is my very favorite time of year. I don't think I could bear to live anywhere but New England simply because of the fall colors and the inexplicable quality of the autumn air.

    These are two poems that have been posted here in past years that I liked very much.

    by Paul Laurence Dunbar

    OCTOBER is the treasurer of the year,
    And all the months pay bounty to her store:
    The fields and orchards still their tribute bear,
    And fill her brimming coffers more and more.
    But she, with youthful lavishness,
    Spends all her wealth in gaudy dress,
    And decks herself in garments bold
    Of scarlet, purple, red, and gold.
    She heedeth not how swift the hours fly,
    But smiles and sings her happy life along;
    She only sees above a shining sky;
    She only hears the breezes' voice in song.
    Her garments trail the woodland through,
    And gather pearls of early dew
    That sparkle till the roguish Sun
    Creeps up and steals them every one.
    But what cares she that jewels should be lost,
    When all of Nature's bounteous wealth is hers?
    Though princely fortunes may have been their cost,
    Not one regret her calm demeanor stirs.
    Whole-hearted, happy, careless, free,
    She lives her life out joyously,
    Nor cares when Frost stalks o'er her way
    And turns her auburn locks to gray.

    "God's World"
    Edna St. Vincent Millay

    O WORLD, I cannot hold thee close enough!
    Thy winds, thy wide grey skies!
    Thy mists, that roll and rise!
    Thy woods, this autumn day, that ache and sag
    And all but cry with colour! That gaunt crag
    To crush! To lift the lean of that black bluff!
    World, World, I cannot get thee close enough!

    Long have I known a glory in it all,
    But never knew I this;
    Here such a passion is
    As stretcheth me apart,ÂLord, I do fear
    ThouÂst made the world too beautiful this year;
    My soul is all but out of me,Âlet fall
    No burning leaf; prithee, let no bird call.

  • vickitg
    15 years ago

    AutumnÂoverlooked my Knitting - 748

    AutumnÂoverlooked my KnittingÂ
    DyesÂsaid HeÂhave IÂ
    Could disparage a FlamingoÂ
    Show Me themÂsaid IÂ

    CochinealÂI choseÂfor deeming
    It resemble TheeÂ
    And the little BorderÂDuskerÂ
    For resembling MeÂ

    Emily Dickinson

  • vickitg
    15 years ago

    Autumn Movement

    I cried over beautiful things knowing no beautiful thing lasts.

    The field of cornflower yellow is a scarf at the neck of the copper
    sunburned woman, the mother of the year, the taker of seeds.

    The northwest wind comes and the yellow is torn full of holes,
    new beautiful things come in the first spit of snow on the northwest wind,
    and the old things go, not one lasts.

    Carl Sandburg

  • jankin
    15 years ago

    I am very fond of this poet and love this poem especially the final line;-

    The Burning of the Leaves by Laurence Binyon

    Now is the time for the burning of the leaves,
    They go to the fire; the nostrils prick with smoke
    Wandering slowly into the weeping mist.
    Brittle and blotched, ragged and rotten sheaves!
    A flame seizes the smouldering ruin, and bites
    On stubborn stalks that crackle as they resist.
    The last hollyhockÂs fallen tower is dust:
    All the spices of June are a bitter reek,
    All the extravagant riches spent and mean.
    All burns! the reddest rose is a ghost.
    Spark whirl up, to expire in the mist: the wild
    Fingers of fire are making corruption clean.
    Now is the time for stripping the spirit bare,
    Time for the burning of days ended and done,
    Idle solace of things that have gone before,
    Rootless hope and fruitless desire are there:
    Let them go to the fire with never a look behind.
    That world that was ours is a world that is ours no more.
    They will come again, the leaf and the flower, to arise
    From squalor of rottenness into the old splendour,
    And magical scents to a wondering memory bring;
    The same glory, to shine upon different eyes.
    Earth cares for her own ruins, naught for ours.
    Nothing is certain, only the certain spring.

  • woodnymph2_gw
    15 years ago

    Always my favorite season, since childhood, when the opening of the school year meant new beginnings. Here in Tidewater, we often do not get our best leaf colors until November, quite a bit later than some of the rest of the country.

    Here is a different take on fall, from the far East:

    Clear After Rain

    by Tu Fu, translated by Kenneth Rexroth.

    "Autumn, cloud blades on the horizon.
    The west wind blows from ten thousand miles.
    Dawn, in the clear morning air,
    Farmers busy after long rain.
    The desert trees shed their few green leaves.
    The mountain pears are tiny, but ripe.
    A Tartar flute plays by the city gate.
    A single wild goose climbs into the void."

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