Keats and Fall

For a few years I made it a point to sit down and read Keats's "Ode to Autumn" sometime in the early fall. It's cool, overcast, and a bit foggy this morning. Perfect "Ode to Autumn" weather. Read it out loud and savor the harvest of sounds.

Ode to Autumn

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.


Blogger Radish King said...

I'll bet you didn't know that the last poem in Radish King is titled Keats and the girl with the big mouth duke it out.

It's here, btw.

18/10/06 08:22  
Blogger The Sublibrarian said...


18/10/06 12:10  
Blogger Pamela said...

Here's what one of my students said about "To Autumn": Isn't it just the ooziest?

Indeed it is. It's 20 years too late, but I'd love to retitle my senior thesis as "Progression in Keats' Odes: From Urn to Ooze." LOL.

22/10/06 07:56  
Blogger The Sublibrarian said...

Pamela, that's the best summary of the Ode I've ever heard.

22/10/06 11:28  

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