Poem of the Month: October

Books & Literature, Environment, Uncategorized

Despite the unnatural mugginess of the London streets, it is now officially Autumn! It’s hard to say, but I think this may be my favourite season of the year. I’m not one for warm weather; I like fresh, crisp afternoons with blackberry crumble, dog walks and lots of tartan.

The poem I have chosen for October is from the Romantic period, which I believe to be the best literary era. Think Wordsworth, Coleridge and Austen, and the emotive language used to describe the wonders of our natural world. George Monbiot wrote a fantastic piece in the Guardian today about our reckless destruction of the planet, and it seems fitting to reflect on this poem by John Keats, from a time when the world was greener and people were deeply connected with nature.

I find the poem comforting in its reminder not to be sad that the warm months are gone, because Autumn has its own music to play.

To Autumn by John Keats

1

Seasons 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 mossed 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-brimmed their clammy cells.

2

 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-reaped furrow sound asleep,
Drowsed with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
Spares the next swath and all its twinèd 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.

3

Where are the songs of Spring? Aye, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too –
While barrèd 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.

mg_0551

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2 thoughts on “Poem of the Month: October

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