October Offerings – Part XX: Something to Delight both Head and Heart

A Poem for Today

“Gathering Leaves,”
By Robert Frost

Spades take up leaves
No better than spoons,
And bags full of leaves
Are light as balloons.
I make a great noise
Of rustling all day
Like rabbit and deer
Running away.
But the mountains I raise
Elude my embrace,
Flowing over my arms
And into my face.
I may load and unload
Again and again
Till I fill the whole shed,
And what have I then?
Next to nothing for weight,
And since they grew duller
From contact with earth,
Next to nothing for color.
Next to nothing for use.
But a crop is a crop,
And who’s to say where
The harvest shall stop?
aFrost

“I cannot endure to waste anything so precious as autumnal sunshine by staying in the house.” – Nathaniel Hawthorne
aHawthorne

A Second Poem for Today

“Ode to the Lemon,”
By Pablo Neruda

From blossoms
released
by the moonlight,
from an
aroma of exasperated
love,
steeped in fragrance,
yellowness
drifted from the lemon tree,
and from its plantarium
lemons descended to the earth.

Tender yield!
The coasts,
the markets glowed
with light, with
unrefined gold;
we opened
two halves
of a miracle,
congealed acid
trickled
from the hemispheres
of a star,
the most intense liqueur
of nature,
unique, vivid,
concentrated,
born of the cool, fresh
lemon,
of its fragrant house,
its acid, secret symmetry.

Knives
sliced a small
cathedral
in the lemon,
the concealed apse, opened,
revealed acid stained glass,
drops
oozed topaz,
altars,
cool architecture.

So, when you hold
the hemisphere
of a cut lemon
above your plate,
you spill
a universe of gold,
a yellow goblet
of miracles,
a fragrant nipple
of the earth’s breast,
a ray of light that was made fruit,
the minute fire of a planet.

Below – Jeanne Illenye: “Lemons on Pewter Plate”
aNeruda

“Listen! The wind is rising,
and the air is wild with leaves,
We have had our summer evenings,
now for October eves!” ― Humbert Wolfe
aWolfe

A Third Poem for Today

“The Poem that Took the Place of a Mountain,”
By Wallace Stevens

There it was, word for word,
The poem that took the place of a mountain.

He breathed its oxygen,
Even when the book lay turned in the dust of his table.

It reminded him how he had needed
A place to go to in his own direction,

How he had recomposed the pines,
Shifted the rocks and picked his way among clouds,

For the outlook that would be right,
Where he would be complete in an unexplained completion:

The exact rock where his inexactnesses
Would discover, at last, the view toward which they had edged,

Where he could lie and, gazing down at the sea,
Recognize his unique and solitary home.
aStevens

“Is not this a true autumn day? Just the still melancholy that I love – that makes life and nature harmonise. The birds are consulting about their migrations, the trees are putting on the hectic or the pallid hues of decay, and begin to strew the ground, that one’s very footsteps may not disturb the repose of earth and air, while they give us a scent that is a perfect anodyne to the restless spirit. Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.” – George Eliot
aEliot

A Fourth Poem for Today

“A Map of the City,”
By Thom Gunn

I stand upon a hill and see
A luminous country under me,
Through which at two the drunk sailor must weave;
The transient’s pause, the sailor’s leave.

I notice, looking down the hill,
Arms braced upon a window sill;
And on the web of fire escapes
Move the potential, the grey shapes.

I hold the city here, complete;
And every shape defined by light
Is mine, or corresponds to mine,
Some flickering or some steady shine.

This map is ground of my delight.
Between the limits, night by night,
I watch a malady’s advance,
I recognize my love of chance.

By the recurrent lights I see
Endless potentiality,
The crowded, broken, and unfinished!
I would not have the risk diminished.
aGunn

“Two sounds of autumn are unmistakable…the hurrying rustle of crisp leaves blown along the street…by a gusty wind, and the gabble of a flock of migrating geese.” – Hal Borland

aBorland

A Fifth Poem for Today

“An Autumn Evening,”
By Lucy Maud Montgomery

Dark hills against a hollow crocus sky
Scarfed with its crimson pennons, and below
The dome of sunset long, hushed valleys lie
Cradling the twilight, where the lone winds blow
And wake among the harps of leafless trees
Fantastic runes and mournful melodies.

The chilly purple air is threaded through
With silver from the rising moon afar,
And from a gulf of clear, unfathomed blue
In the southwest glimmers a great gold star
Above the darkening druid glens of fir
Where beckoning boughs and elfin voices stir.

And so I wander through the shadows still,
And look and listen with a rapt delight,
Pausing again and yet again at will
To drink the elusive beauty of the night,
Until my soul is filled, as some deep cup,
That with divine enchantment is brimmed up.
aMontgomery

“He found himself wondering at times, especially in the autumn, about the wild lands, and strange visions of mountains that he had never seen came into his dreams.” – J.R.R. Tolkien
aTolkien

A Sixth Poem for Today

“I Know Great Horses Live Again,”
By Stanley Harrison

Somewhere…
Somewhere in time’s own space,
There must be some sweet pastured place.
Where creeks sing on and tall trees grow,
Some Paradise where horses go.
For by the love that guides my pen,
I know great horses live again.
aHarrison

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