Sunday, October 04, 2009

Autumn poetry primer, part 1

I am certain that I am not alone in enjoying the change of season. When it comes to cycles, Autumn is the season that usually sets me to pondering the turning of time. And pondering often brings me to poetry (the writing and reading of). So, for the next while, I figured I'd share some of the autumn-related poems that I love. I'm considering making a little scrapbook sort of thing with them - sort of like a commonplace book - or a homemade anthology, if you prefer.

Up first: two Fall poems by Miss Emily Dickinson.



Isn't she beautiful there? That's how my good friend Kevin Slattery saw her when he created his "Four Seasons of Emily Dickinson". I have a print of her that I purchased from his online store. The quote on the left side of the image comes from the following Dickinson poem, about which I've posted before:

Autumn — overlooked my Knitting —
Dyes — said He — have I —
Could disparage a Flamingo —
Show Me them — said I —

Cochineal* — I chose — for deeming
It resemble Thee —
And the little Border — Dusker —
For resembling Me —


*Cochineal is a red dye derived from beetles found in Mexico, and the subject of an excellent nonfiction book I once read entitled A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire by Amy Butler Greenfield. Cochineal is rare among red dyes, since it doesn't usually fade during washings. Notice that Emily assigns cochineal and the center or her work to someone else, and a "dusker" (darker, greyer) color (and a little border) to herself.

This next Dickinson poem appears to have become a bit of an annual tradition for me. I first shared it two years ago, and reprised it last year as well:

The morns are meeker than they were —
The nuts are getting brown —
The berry's cheek is plumper —
The Rose is out of town.

The Maple wears a gayer scarf —
The field a scarlet gown —
Lest I should be old fashioned
I'll put a trinket on.


This second poem always reminds me of a pin that I own, which is a piece of costume jewelry in the shape of a maple leaf. I don't generally wear the appropriate attire for the pin, but I believe the next time I pull out one of my wraps, I'll put my trinket on.

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