Monday, October 05, 2009

Autumn poetry primer, part 2

Today's poem is "To Autumn" by John Keats, whose life is currently onscreen in the movie Bright Star, which I've not yet seen but will get to this week (by hook or by crook). (Check out the New York Times review if you've not yet heard about this film.)

I first posted this poem earlier this year during my National Poetry Month series on "Building a Poetry Collection". You can read more in-depth analysis and discussion at the earlier post.

To Autumn
by John Keats

  I

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 mossed 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-brimmed their clammy cells.

  II

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-reaped furrow sound asleep,
  Drowsed with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
    Spares the next swath and all its twinèd 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.

  III

Where are the songs of Spring? Aye, 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.


There seems to be a paucity of swallows around here, but the starlings have been noisily on the move, and the crickets (which were mostly gone for the past few years) have been back in our area again, playing their wee violins.


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