My favourite season

Posted in Uncategorized by lmass on 07/10/2011

It is only in the last few years that I have really begun to notice the magic of autumn. In the days of yore, when the golden leaves and fallen conkers signified a return to school, this month did not imbue me with a sense of magic wonder. In more recent years, even if new terms did begin, I began to experience a strange sense of euphoria at the glory of this fruitful month.

Before the 16th century, this season was referred to as harvest across most of Europe. However, increasing urbanisation rendered this label redundant and meaningless, and so the old french world Automphne replaced it. It is the foreboding sense of the dark winter months, and the fading warmth of the summer sun which imbues autumn with a melancholy that makes this time of year only more sweet. Maybe it’s because I’m British, but there is something about blustery winds and cold hands and feet that make me feel at home – more so than broiling in sweltering heat, despite the latter weathers more popular reputation.

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

John Keats – To Autumn

Written September 19th, 1819

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