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

“Spring blossoms are fairy tales, autumn leaves are tragic dramas.” – Mehmet Murat Ildan

“Lady Autumn, Queen of the Harvest,
I have seen You in the setting Sun
with Your long auburn tresses…
You sit upon Your throne and watch
the dying fires of the setting Sun
shine forth its final colors in the sky…
Lady Autumn, You are here at last…” – Deirdre Akins

Below – John Howard Johnson: “Demeter, Goddess of the Harvest”

“In the utter peace and stillness the world seemed holding its breath, a little apprehensively, drawing near to the fire to warm itself. There was none of that sense of urgeful, pushing life that robs even a calm spring day of the sense of silence; life was over and the year was just waiting, harboring its strength for the final storms and turmoil of its death. The warmth and the color of maturity was there, exultant and burning, visible to the eyes, but the prophecy of decay was felt in a faint shiver of cold at morning and evening and a tiny sigh of the elms at midnight when a wandering ghost of a wind plucked a little of their gold away from them.” ― Elizabeth Goudge

A Poem for Today

“The Season of Phantasmal Peace,”
By Derek Walcott

Then all the nations of birds lifted together
the huge net of the shadows of this earth
in multitudinous dialects, twittering tongues,
stitching and crossing it. They lifted up
the shadows of long pines down trackless slopes,
the shadows of glass-faced towers down evening streets,
the shadow of a frail plant on a city sill—
the net rising soundless as night, the birds’ cries soundless, until
there was no longer dusk, or season, decline, or weather,
only this passage of phantasmal light
that not the narrowest shadow dared to sever.

And men could not see, looking up, what the wild geese drew,
what the ospreys trailed behind them in silvery ropes
that flashed in the icy sunlight; they could not hear
battalions of starlings waging peaceful cries,
bearing the net higher, covering this world
like the vines of an orchard, or a mother drawing
the trembling gauze over the trembling eyes
of a child fluttering to sleep;
it was the light
that you will see at evening on the side of a hill
in yellow October, and no one hearing knew
what change had brought into the raven’s cawing,
the killdeer’s screech, the ember-circling chough
such an immense, soundless, and high concern
for the fields and cities where the birds belong,
except it was their seasonal passing, Love,
made seasonless, or, from the high privilege of their birth,
something brighter than pity for the wingless ones
below them who shared dark holes in windows and in houses,
and higher they lifted the net with soundless voices
above all change, betrayals of falling suns,
and this season lasted one moment, like the pause
between dusk and darkness, between fury and peace,
but, for such as our earth is now, it lasted long.

“Anna drove with the window rolled down, breathing in the essence of autumn: an exhalation of a forest readying itself for sleep, a smell so redolent with nostalgia a pleasant ache warmed her bones and she was nagged with the sense of a loss she could not remember.” ― Nevada Barr

Below – Carole Spandau: “Road Through Quebec”

“Anyone who thinks fallen leaves are dead has never watched them dancing on a windy day.” ― Shira Tamir

“Autumn is Nature’s last party of the year. And dressing for the occasion, forests don their brightest attire, while the creatures follow suit with plush coats of fur. As the birds savor their final flights in the waning embers of light, Nature’s children scamper about in search of manna for their winter pantries, pausing long enough to frolic in the heaps of newly fallen leaves.” – Debra Welsh

“And the yellow sunflower by the brook, in autumn beauty stood.”
― William Cullen Bryant

“The heat of autumn
is different from the heat of summer.
One ripens apples, the other turns them to cider.” ― Jane Hirshfield

A Second Poem for Today

“The Novices,”
By Denise Levertov

To leave the open fields
and enter the forest,
that was the rite.
Knowing there was mystery, they could go.
Go back now! And he receded among the multitude of forms, the twists and shadows they saw now, listening to the hum of the world’s wood.

“Methinks I see the sunset light flooding the river valley, the western hills stretching to the horizon, overhung with trees gorgeous and glowing with the tints of autumn — a mighty flower garden blossoming under the spell of the enchanter, frost.” ― John Greenleaf Whittier

Below – Jasper Francis Cropsey: “Autumn on the Hudson River”

“Dancing of the autumn leaves on the surface of a lake is a dream we see when we are awake!” ― Mehmet Murat Ildan
Falling Leaves

The ripe, the golden month has come again, and in Virginia the chinkapins are falling. Frost sharps the middle music of the seasons, and all things living on the earth turn home again… the fields are cut, the granaries are full, the bins are loaded to the brim with fatness, and from the cider-press the rich brown oozings of the York Imperials run. The bee bores to the belly of the grape, the fly gets old and fat and blue, he buzzes loud, crawls slow, creeps heavily to death on sill and ceiling, the sun goes down in blood and pollen across the bronzed and mown fields of the old October.” – Thomas Wolfe

Below – Rosemary Antel: “Mown Field”

“Autumns reward western Kansas for the evils that the remaining seasons impose: winter’s rough Colorado winds and hip-high, sheep-slaughtering snows; the slushes and the strange land fogs of spring; and summer, when even crows seek the puny shade, and the tawny infinitude of wheatstalks bristle, blaze. At last, after September, another weather arrives, an Indian summer that occasionally endures until Christmas.” ― Truman Capote

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