Poetry Sunday: To Autumn by John Keats

Autumn is my favorite time of year - although if you asked me next April, I might say that spring is. But no, I really do enjoy these months as the year is winding down and we finally have some reprieve from the heat of summer. Around here, we still have daytime temperatures that approach 90 degrees F on some days, but even on those days, there is a difference, a freshness in the air. John Keats knew and he described this time of year poetically and beautifully.

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,
  Drowsed 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 cider-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 redbreast whistles from a garden-croft,
    And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.


  1. The line that resonates with me this year is "And still more, later flowers for the bees." I don't know when I have seen them gathering pollen so late as this year - and still they do it.

  2. It's a toss-up between Keats and Coleridge as to which is my favorite poet. Thanks for sharing one of my well-loved poems.

  3. Autumn does have it's own music. Lovely poem!

    1. Indeed, even though the birds are largely silent now, Nature still provides a symphony of sound for us.

  4. The bees are hunting for the remaining blooms, too, here. They must sense the end of the growing season is near. So happy I have my blooming heuchera to keep them happy a few more days before the frost comes.

    1. I just walked around my backyard and found my coral vine covered in bees visiting its blossoms.

  5. Autumn is my favorite season, but it's not the sort of classic autumn here, with fall leaves and apples and pumpkins, that most people write about. It is a lovely cooling-off time, and that is delightful.

    1. Yes, the respite from summer's heat is the real headline for fall around here, isn't it? Well, that and the Astros in the playoffs again!


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