Three Autumn Poems
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Of the four seasons, spring and autumn seem to inspire the most poetry. And, though I love spring, there’s something about the melancholy blazing glorious “end” of autumn that has long made it my favourite season.
Whether you resonate with Gerard Manley Hopkins‘s Hurrahing in Harvest, saying with him:
“I walk, I lift up, I lift up heart, eyes,
Down all that glory in the heavens to glean our Saviour…”
Or, will “stay awake, read, write long letters” with Rainer Maria Rilke on an Autumn Day and:
“…wander restlessly up and down
the tree-lined streets, when the leaves are drifting.”
There is a visual poetry to this time of year that seems to inspire reflection and observation.
Here are three autumnal poems: a famous one, a funny one, and my favourite one.
A Robert Frost Poem
Besides Nothing Gold Can Stay (which I memorized as a kid — and still remember!), Robert Frost’s other most famous poem is probably this one:
The Road Not Taken
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
There seems to be a tendency to discount quotes or poems because they’re “too common” (aka too famous), but just because something is often repeated doesn’t mean it has lost its value. Think of the glory of autumn itself — it happens every year and it never gets old. So too good words.
» Read more Robert Frost poetry.
An Emily Dickinson Poem
I have yet to be speechless over an Emily Dickinson poem — in that “how did you know just the right words to use to describe that unexplainable thing” way — but I often find myself smiling upon reading her poetry, and thinking she would’ve been an interesting person to correspond with. Can you imagine getting emails from Emily Dickinson? I bet they’d be precise and hilarious.
In my search through autumn poems, this one of hers made me smile:
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.
I don’t quite know why, but that last line cracks me up. And, I think she meant it to do just that. Thanks, Emily.
» Read more Emily Dickinson poetry.
An ee cummings Poem
I discovered this poem just a few years ago, and immediately fell in love. ee cummings often gets me, but this is by far my favourite of his — and of fall poetry in general.
The Glory Is Fallen Out Of
the glory is fallen out of
the sky the last immortal
is dead and the gold
a formal spasm
this is the passing of all shining things
therefore we also
earth, O let
these fragile splendors from
us crumple them hide
them in thy breath drive
them in nothingness
this is the passing of all shining things
no lingering no backward-
wondering be unto
soul, but straight
glad feet fear ruining
and glory girded
I love that repeated line, “this is the passing of all shining things,” but it’s that ending that especially gets me — “straight glad feet fear ruining and glory girded faces lead us into the serious steep darkness” — aghk! How do you come up with lines like that?? The glory is falling from your mind, ee.
The first time I read this poem, I realised at the end that I’d forgotten to breathe. That’s good poetry.
» Read more ee cummings poetry.
What is your favourite autumn poem?
» Speaking of Emily Dickinson…don’t miss your chance to enter the Literary Sights and Smells Giveaway. You could win a library candle set of the Emily Dickinson scent!