Poetry Sunday: To Autumn by John Keats

We have the hope of some actual autumn-like weather in the coming week. The forecasters are saying that our high temperatures will be in the low 80s and may even dip into the 70s on one day! And nighttime temperatures could actually get as low as the high 50s. Those are the most pleasant numbers we've seen since April. We can only hope that they materialize.

With such a prospect in view, let us dream on with one of the Romantic poets, John Keats. Here is his take on autumn.


To Autumn


by John Keats

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.

Comments

  1. Am I losing it or did I just read this poem yesterday at Edith's Miscellany? Ah, I checked. It was posted there last Monday but I read it yesterday as I was catching up from my trip. It was well worth reading again. I could just feel all the season-watching and thinking about seasons Keats had done. I love how he makes fall the subject of each phrase and the results of its actions the verbs in the first verse.

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    1. I expect it's a popular poem to be featured at this time of year. The autumn that he describes is everyone's ideal, I think. Not the reality of Southeast Texas but the kind of autumn that I would like to experience again.

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  2. I thought I had left a comment earlier, but perhaps I forgot to hit "publish." Fall is well advanced here but the weather has still been warm by our standards for the time of year. Great to see the poem by Keats. I probably haven't read him since I was in high school. Thanks for bringing him to me.

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  3. I adore his vision of Fall. It feels like that right now in New England.

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    Replies
    1. Well, it was a place somewhat like New England he was writing about, certainly not like fall where I am. It's the ideal fall, the kind I can only dream about.

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