Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Autumn: "Season of Mists and Mellow Fruitfulness"

Autumn is a season of dramatic natural beauty. The days still contain a hint of summer's warmth, the air is fragrant, the brilliant harvest moon sheds its light on fields and towns, and we feast on the abundant fruits of the harvest- tomatoes, sweet peppers, grapes, apples, pears and melons. Yet in the midst of pleasure and fulfillment, we sense the inevitable approach of the dark chilly days of winter.

John Keats, the English Romantic poet, composed his ode "To Autumn" in September of 1819, reportedly after taking an evening stroll near the city of Winchester. His words, written when Keats was only twenty two years old, describe perfectly the bittersweet essence of the season. The poem is comprised of three stanzas of eleven lines each. This is the first stanza:

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 bud 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 kernal; 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.

John Keats (1795- 1821)