Monday, October 5, 2009

John Keats, To Autumn

October always signaled the season of Autumn to me.  Officially, of course, September 21 is the start of Fall but the leaves that color the landscape are the true guide.  That and the quality of light and the musk of dying plants and the Harvest Moon and the change in air temperature confirm that October is the month of change.

John Keats wrote an ode To Autumn in 1819, two years before he died at the age of 26.  The poem consists of three stanzas of eleven lines each.  I am presenting only the last stanza here because it is my favorite of the three.

"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."

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