9:10 am, Thursday, 25 November, 2010 – Atlanta
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-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.
by John Keats
This poem seemed a good way to share the day. Autumn is my favourite season and I am grateful to have it again after twenty years of summer. In Jakarta where we spent the last twenty Autumns, it would be about 86 degrees and 93% humidity, probably raining. Here, in Atlanta, ’tis a misty moisty morning and I am trying to decide whether or not to turn on the heat to take the edge off. The lush greenery of Jakarta has given way to bare maples with their tracery of twigs abstract against the grey sky.
If you are not feeling particularly grateful, a great place to vent is Betsey Lerner’s blog, where she asks what we don’t feel grateful for. It’s a clever question, as in writing about what I don’t feel grateful for, what I do feel grateful for kept waving its hands.
Whether or not you celebrate Thanksgiving, have a good day and I will be back with you and the workings of poetry tomorrow.
And, of course, you can always choose 15, or so, words from Keats’ ode and write your own poem. Try and make it random rather than deliberate, but also try for a mix of verbs and nouns.