Ode to Autumn

The season of “mists and mellow fruitfulness” is fast upon us and there is nothing like a cool, overcast and rainy day after a long string of hot sunny summer days to emphasize the transition from late summer to early autumn. What is autumn to you? To me it is a transition between cycles of life.

There is the season we call autumn. The autumn or evening of each day. The autumn of our years. It is a time of harvest, of bringing the fruits of the years’ labors into the storehouse.

While it would be foolish to declare summer’s end so early in September, especially in Northeast Georgia, I am compelled to share with you one of my favorite poems on the glorious autumn season.

Ode to Autumn by 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.

8 thoughts on “Ode to Autumn

  • I’ve never put that together in daily application……
    “The Autumn of our day, the coolness of the transition into evening”
    Harvest time, has then been increasingly bountiful, for my evenings have been rought with quite simply a profound peace.
    A deep appreciation has ushered the welcoming transition to autumn,
    “and fill all fruit with ripeness to the core” I pray our friends everywhere share the same abundance in this wonderful time of harvest, one of restful assurance.
    Thank-you for providing the connecting point.

  • Beautiful. I love autumn it’s my favorite season, the colors, the smells. It has always seemed like the start of the year, perhaps because the new school year begins!

  • I love the poetry of Keats his words were so vivid, creating picturesque imagery. If you close your eyes while someone reads this aloud you can see his bucolic England; armchair travel at it’s best.
    Thanks for the beautiful post.

  • It’s nice to be on call in conscious welcoming of a new season. I can think of many times I was oblivious to the change until after it had taken place. So much is missed when we are too busy to take notice, opportunities we never get back. Beautiful poem!

  • This is an amazing poem. The sounds of the words themselves remind me of Autumn. As the season passes and the summer’s heat recedes, more time is available to reflect on the days that have come before. It is still a busy time, but mellow. It has neither the harsh heat of summer or the harsh cold of winter, but a mix of both that can be very pleasant.

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