Poetry Sunday: To Autumn

For this week's featured poem, here is a classic - John Keats' ode to the season. The beautiful pastoral imagery of the poem evokes a time long past, but even so they are images that seem somehow familiar and recognizable. Perhaps they are in our blood.

                                 TO AUTUMN

                      by John Keats (1795-1821) 

    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.


"Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they? Think not of them, thou hast thy music too -" Don't be envious of Spring, the poet seems to be saying, for you have your own unique beauty and music, Autumn. Anyone who has ever enjoyed a glorious autumn day would certainly agree.


  1. Last night we returned from our Thanksgiving trip to Marin County. Reading the poem was like a rerun through all the fall beauty we saw on our drive and during our days there. Thanks!

  2. It is true that Autumn has its own beauty, particularly as the leaves change colors.

    1. We don't get much leaf color here, but still the season has many charms. It's a meditative time, it encourages reflection.

  3. One of my favorites! Keats was a master at imagery.


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