There is nothing new or surprising about sharing such an iconic poem at this time of year. But it has been on my mind the past few weeks. Every time we drive to the mountains, I find myself saying ’tis the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness’ under my breath, combining two popular seasonal lines in one, as I admire the glorious autumn trees around us!
I’m not the only.
The stylish, on trend instagrammers are also streaming to the mountains every weekend for their best-ever #autumnvibes pic. They arrive in glamorous autumnal themed clothing and spend their time tossing leaves and posing elegantly for their photographers/stylists. It can be quite a production and amuses the locals no end!
To Autumn was also the poem that turned me onto poetry as a young adult.
One May, early in my teaching career, I attended a conference at the university in Bathurst. The presenter could not resist quoting the first stanza of this poem after we had all driven into town through a foggy autumnal blaze of orange and yellow and red. She referred to Keats as an ‘eloquent distiller of language’. Listening to someone, with beautiful annunciation, recite a classic poem like this was a real treat I’ve never forgotten.
To Autumn 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. Written September 1819 First published 1820
This post is part of A Poem For a Thursday with Jennifer @Holds Upon Happiness.