12 November 2007

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-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 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.
—John Keats (1795–1821)

Photos, top to bottom: (1) B took this through the living room curtains at 1547 in Schenectady on 21 October; (2) pumpkins (and a gourd) that B and Alan bought in Vermont the weekend after Columbus Day; (3) late zinnias, a little worse for the wear of autumn's chill, but probably more beautiful because of it; (4) Indian corn that now dresses up the back door; (5) Happy Halloween! B carved this little guy at the office and then brought him home on Halloween night; (6) sunset in Greenwich Village on 2 November, looking toward the Hudson.


  1. Love the poem. i found myself skimming through your blog tonight, hoping all is well with you and Dale and B. I hope you had a good thanksgiving.


  2. I love Keats but that is one I had missed. How perfect for your post. Enjoyed it very much. I have put poetry on my blog. It just seems to fit there with the garden.

    That is such a beautiful area in which you live.

  3. Hi, Barbee! I love Keats, too. I'm itching to post "Ode to a Nightingale," but I'm waiting for just the right moment. Spring is really popping out up here. How are things in Kentucky? If the photos on your blog are any indication, you are well into daffodils! See you around!

  4. Oh, yes, daffodils galore! Now, tulips have started. Forsythias everywhere. You may have seen my last post: Rhapsody in Yellow.

    Ah, "Ode to N.": I get the vibes and look forward to the weaving of the perfect time and subject.

    I hope to get back to read more in a few days. Now must rest. Spent all day in hospital with ailing husband/best friend/chief photographer who will have surgery tomorrow. He misses his lap-top, but I told him I'm not bringing it up there. He has his cell phone and Palm Pilot type "toy" to play with.

    Someday I would like to have a book of just Keats's poems. I should put that on my Christmas wish list. We are about buried in books here. As Mark Twain said: Shelves are not so easily borrowed as books. Though I have never kept someone else's book, I frequently remember what he said - and I smile.