05 November 2009

Autumn Poems

Autumn Poems

Perhaps Autumn is a time for poetry.  So here are a few poems that conjur up the period for me. 

I found the poem by Keats in an ancient copy of "The Golden Treasury" inscribed by my great aunt with the words "Elfie Steenberg July 1 1918":

Ode To Autumn

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-eaves run:

To bend with apples the moss'd cottage-trees,

And fill all fruit fruit with ripeness to the core;

To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells

With 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'erbrimm'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,

Drowsed with the fume of poppies, while thy hook

Spares the next swath and all its twinéd flowers;

And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep

Steady thy laden head across a brook;

Or by a cider-press, with patient look,

Thou watchest the last oozings, hours by hours.

Where are the songs of Spring? Aye, where are they?

Think not of them, - thou hast thy music too,

While barréd 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 redbreast whistles from a garden-croft,

And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.

Or perhaps something more modern from Ted Hughes' book of poems "Season Songs":


Who's killed the leaves?

Me, says the apple, I've killed them all.

Fat as a bomb or a cannonball

I've killed the leaves.

Who sees them drop?

Me, says the pear, they will leave me all bare

So all the people can point and stare.

I see them drop.

Who'll catch their blood?

Me, me, me, says the marrow, the marrow.

I'll get so rotund that they'll need a wheelbarrow.

I'll catch their blood.

Who'll make their shroud?

Me, says the swallow, there's just time enough

Before I must pack all my spools and be off.

I'll make their shroud.

Who'll dig their grave?

Me, says the river, with the power of the clouds

A brown deep grave I'll dig under my floods.

I'll dig their grave.

Who'll be their parson?

Me, says the Crow, for it is well-known

I study the bible right down to the bone.

I'll be their parson.

Who'll be chief mourner?

Me, says the wind, I will cry through the grass

The people will pale and go cold when I pass.

I'll be chief mourner.

Who'll carry the coffin?

Me, says the sunset, the whole world will weep

To see me lower it into the deep.

I'll carry the coffin.

Who'll sing a psalm?

Me, says the tractor, with mu gear grinding glottle

I'll plough Up the stubble and sing through my throttle.

I'll sing the psalm.

Who'll toll the bell?

Me, says the robin, my song in October

Will tell the still gardens the leaves are over.

I'll toll the bell.