Welcoming Autumn with Poetry: 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-eaves 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 cider-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.
Welcoming Autumn with Poetry: Delmore Schwartz
“Poem” (Remember Midsummer)
Remember midsummer: the fragrance of box, of white
And of phlox. And upon a honeysuckle branch
Three snails hanging with infinite delicacy
— Clinging like tendril, flake and thread, as self-tormented
And self-delighted as any ballerina,
just as in the orchard,
Near the apple trees, in the over-grown grasses
Drunken wasps clung to over-ripe pears
Which had fallen: swollen and disfigured.
For now it is wholly autumn: in the late
Afternoon as I walked toward the ridge where the hills
There is a whir, a thrashing in the bush, and a startled
pheasant, flying out and up,
Suddenly astonished me, breaking the waking dream.
Snatches of sleep, streaked by dreams and half dreams
– So that, aloft in the dim sky, for almost an hour,
A sausage balloon – chalk-white and lifeless looking–
Until, at midnight, I went to New Bedlam and saw what I
the most – I heard nothing, but it
had all happened several times elsewhere.
Now, in the cold glittering morning, shining at the
The pears hang, yellowed and over-ripe, sodden brown in
erratic places, all bunched and dangling,
Like a small choir of bagpipes, silent and waiting. And I
Go to the window and gaze at the fallen or falling country
— And see! — the fields are pencilled light brown
or are the dark brownness of the last autumn
— So much has shrunken to straight brown lines, thin as
bare thin trees,
Save where the cornstalks, white bones of the lost forever dead,
Shrivelled and fallen, but shrill-voiced when the wind
Are scattered like the long abandoned hopes and ambitions
Of an adolescence which, for a very long time, has been
A recurrent target and taunt of the inescapable mockery of
A Song in the Key of Autumn – Judy Collins: “Time Passes Slowly”
Welcoming Autumn with Praise: Albert Camus
Welcoming Autumn with Poetry: Gallway Kinnell
I love to go out in late September
among the fat, overripe, icy, black blackberries
to eat blackberries for breakfast,
the stalks very prickly, a penalty
they earn for knowing the black art
of blackberry-making; and as I stand among them
lifting the stalks to my mouth, the ripest berries
fall almost unbidden to my tongue,
as words sometimes do, certain peculiar words
like strengths or squinched,
many-lettered, one-syllabled lumps,
which I squeeze, squinch open, and splurge well
in the silent, startled, icy, black language
of blackberry — eating in late September.
A Song in the Key of Autumn – Willie Nelson: “Red Headed Stranger”
Welcoming Autumn with Praise: Ernest Hemingway
“You expected to be sad in the fall. Part of you died each year when the leaves fell from the trees and their branches were bare against the wind and the cold, wintery light. But you knew there would always be the spring, as you knew the river would flow again after it was frozen.”
Welcoming Autumn with Poetry: Stanley Kunitz
“End of Summer”
An agitation of the air,
A perturbation of the light
Admonished me the unloved year
Would turn on its hinge that night.
I stood in the disenchanted field
Amid the stubble and the stones,
Amazed, while a small worm lisped to me
The song of my marrow-bones.
Blue poured into summer blue,
A hawk broke from his cloudless tower,
The roof of the silo blazed, and I knew
That part of my life was over.
A Song in the Key of Autumn – Mazzy Star: “Fade into You”
Welcoming Autumn with Poetry: Robert Louis Stevenson
In the other gardens
And all up the vale,
From the autumn bonfires
See the smoke trail!
Pleasant summer over
And all the summer flowers,
The red fire blazes,
The grey smoke towers.
A Song in the Key of Autumn – Tom Waits: “Hold On”
Welcoming Autumn with Poetry: William Blake
O Autumn, laden with fruit, and stain’d
With the blood of the grape, pass not, but sit
Beneath my shady roof; there thou may’st rest,
And tune thy jolly voice to my fresh pipe,
And all the daughters of the year shall dance!
Sing now the lusty song of fruits and flowers.
‘The narrow bud opens her beauties to
The sun, and love runs in her thrilling veins;
Blossoms hang round the brows of Morning, and
Flourish down the bright cheek of modest Eve,
Till clust’ring Summer breaks forth into singing,
And feather’d clouds strew flowers round her head.
‘The spirits of the air live in the smells
Of fruit; and Joy, with pinions light, roves round
The gardens, or sits singing in the trees.’
Thus sang the jolly Autumn as he sat,
Then rose, girded himself, and o’er the bleak
Hills fled from our sight; but left his golden load.
Welcoming Autumn with Art – Tom Thomson: “Autumn Foliage”
Welcoming Autumn with Poetry: Lucy Maud Montgomery
“An Autumn Evening”
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.
A Song in the Key of Autumn – Emmylou Harris and John Prine: “Magnolia Wind”
Welcoming Autumn with Poetry: Wang Wei
“A Song of an Autumn Night”
Welcoming Autumn with Poetry: Henry David Thoreau
“I am the autumnal sun”
I am the autumnal sun,
With autumn gales my race is run;
When will the hazel put forth its flowers,
Or the grape ripen under my bowers?
When will the harvest or the hunter’s moon
Turn my midnight into mid-noon?
I am all sere and yellow,
And to my core mellow.
The mast is dropping within my woods,
The winter is lurking within my moods,
And the rustling of the withered leaf
Is the constant music of my grief…
Welcoming Autumn with Praise: Stephen King
“But then fall comes, kicking summer out on its treacherous ass as it always does one day sometime after the midpoint of September, it stays awhile like an old friend that you have missed. It settles in the way an old friend will settle into your favorite chair and take out his pipe and light it and then fill the afternoon with stories of places he has been and things he has done since last he saw you.”
Welcoming Autumn with Poetry: Percy Bysshe Shelley
“Ode to the West Wind,” Stanza I
O wild West Wind, thou breath of Autumn’s being,
Thou, from whose unseen presence the leaves dead
Are driven, like ghosts from an enchanter fleeing,
Yellow, and black, and pale, and hectic red,
Pestilence-stricken multitudes: O thou,
Who chariotest to their dark wintry bed
The winged seeds, where they lie cold and low,
Each like a corpse within its grave, until
Thine azure sister of the Spring shall blow
Her clarion o’er the dreaming earth, and fill
(Driving sweet buds like flocks to feed in air)
With living hues and odours plain and hill:
Welcoming Autumn with Poetry: Stevie Smith
Welcoming Autumn with Poetry: James Wright
“Autumn Begins In Martins Ferry, Ohio”
In the Shreve High football stadium,
I think of Polacks nursing long beers in Tiltonsville,
And gray faces of Negroes in the blast furnace at Benwood,
And the ruptured night watchman of Wheeling Steel,
Dreaming of heroes.
All the proud fathers are ashamed to go home.
Their women cluck like starved pullets,
Dying for love.
A Song in the Key of Autumn – My Morning Jacket: “Where to Begin”
Welcoming Autumn with Poetry: Emily Dickinson
“As Summer into Autumn slips”
As Summer into Autumn slips
And yet we sooner say
“The Summer” than “the Autumn,” lest
We turn the sun away,
And almost count it an Affront
The presence to concede
Of one however lovely, not
The one that we have loved —
Welcoming Autumn with Praise: Ray Bradbury
“That country where it is always turning late in the year. That country where the hills are fog and the rivers are mist; where noons go quickly, dusks and twilights linger, and midnights stay. That country composed in the main of cellars, sub-cellars, coal-bins, closets, attics, and pantries faced away from the sun. That country whose people are autumn people, thinking only autumn thoughts. Whose people passing at night on the empty walks sound like rain.”
Welcoming Autumn with Poetry: Li Po
“Autumn River Song”
The moon shimmers in green water.
White herons fly through the moonlight.
Welcoming Autumn with Praise: William Cullen Bryant
Welcoming Autumn with Poetry: Edna St. Vincent Millay
Cold wind of autumn, blowing loud
At dawn, a fortnight overdue,
Jostling the doors, and tearing through
My bedroom to rejoin the cloud,
I know—for I can hear the hiss
And scrape of leaves along the floor—
How may boughs, lashed bare by this,
Will rake the cluttered sky once more.
Tardy, and somewhat south of east,
The sun will rise at length, made known
More by the meagre light increased
Than by a disk in splendour shown;
When, having but to turn my head,
Through the stripped maple I shall see,
Bleak and remembered, patched with red,
The hill all summer hid from me.
A Song in the Key of Autumn – Neil Young: “Harvest Moon”
Welcoming Autumn with Praise: Hal Borland
“Autumn is the eternal corrective. It is ripeness and color and a time of completion; but it is also breadth, and depth, and distance. What man can stand with Autumn on a hilltop and fail to see the span of his world and the substance of the rolling hills that reach to the far horizon?”
Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band: “Night Moves”
That time of year thou mayst in me behold
When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang
Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,
Bare ruined choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.
In me thou see’st the twilight of such day
As after sunset fadeth in the west;
Which by and by black night doth take away,
Death’s second self, that seals up all in rest.
In me thou see’st the glowing of such fire,
That on the ashes of his youth doth lie,
As the deathbed whereon it must expire,
Consumed with that which it was nourished by.
This thou perceiv’st, which makes thy love more strong,
To love that well which thou must leave ere long.
Welcoming Lovely Autumn