Monday, November 8, 2010
Fall in Virginia, part 2
While at times I admit to feeling homesick for the seasons in England, for the springs and the daffodils and the primroses that choke babbling brooks on the moors, I have to admit fall is more beautiful in Virginia.
Instead of the russets and browns as autumn gives way to winter at home, in Virginia the trees suddenly burst out in primary colors of vermillions and yellows that become a crazt artist's palette against the clear blue skies.
On days like today I look desperately around the gray walls of the office and long to escape; to walk the path less trodden, beside the lake with the rolling hills a blue mirage in the distance.
But when it comes to encapsulating the mellow crispness of autumn in verse, I'm forced to turn back to England to John Keats, a poet who barely made it out of the spingtime of his life.
To Autumn surely remains the greatest piece of writing that's ever likely to grace the fall.
To Autumn: 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-eaves 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'erbrimmed 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-reaped 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.