Sunday, September 30, 2012

And Brilliance Comes

 
“Autumn...the year's last, loveliest smile.”
~William Cullen Bryant

"Upstairs in the drawing-room there was a small bright fire of logs, yet the sunshine that flooded in through the open windows had real warmth in it. It was perfect: she felt suspended between summer and winter, savouring the best of them both. She unwrapped the chrysanthemums and arranged them in a square glass jar, between herself and the light, so that the sun shone through them. They were the big mop-headed kind, burgundy colored, with curled petals; their beauty was noble, architectural; and as for their scent, she thought as she buried her nose in the nearest of them, it was a pure distillation of her mood, quintessence of all that she found gay and intoxicating and astringent about the weather, the circumstances, her own age and the season of the year. Oh, yes, October certainly suited her best. For the ancients, as she had inescapably learnt at school, it had been the eighth month, nowadays, officially, it was the tenth: but for her it was always the first, the real New Year. That laborious affair in January was nothing but a name..."
~ Mrs. Miniver by Jan Struther


Here as summer fades again, melting readily into the autumn radiance, we feel a brilliance hardly to be expressed, and yet, yearning for description.  A surge and poignancy of light and sunshine and clear cerulean sky; a swirl of summer magic that catches the attention and dances in the imagination like so many fairies.  Somehow this waning glory is able to burn the beauty of summer onto my mind better than all the blazing heat of the sun.
'In the village store someone
says, "I heard the geese go over," and
there is a moment of silence.
Why this is so moving, I do not know.
But all of us feel it.'
~ Gladys Taber
And then a shower of leaves, rustling and swirling on the air, turns my head and captures my attention with a thrilling, sparkling, sort of wonder.  Combines roll through the fields, leaving them open and fragrant with corn-dust.  Fields crackle and rustle; stalk-choppers go by.  The season of gathering has come again.
Birds and butterflies are gathering, readying themselves for long migration; fluttering little flocks stop on nearby gardens and slopes, and we are cheered by their preparatory chatter.  Stately trees shake blushing foliage, letting fall the loosened and dried.  All manner of animals are out a-gathering; and we too busy ourselves with drying, canning, storing.

Also I am gathering up my thoughts, feelings, and aspirations.  Not in a tidy New-Year-resolution way (although Mrs. Miniver does call Autumn the beginning of her year); no, it's more of a settling of routine and priorities, a rousing of the poetic joy I find in all the various beauties in life... and the autumnal restlessness of spirit.  "When autumn came, he knew that part at least of his heart would think more kindly of journeying, as it always did at that season."  ~ The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien
This last makes me want to wander into forests alone, ankle deep in leaves and imagination, watch birds in the sky, and experience life as an adventure.

Autumn makes me quote poetry, extensively... "Seasons of mists and mellow fruitfulness, Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun."  Our friend Jodi happily posted the whole of Keat's masterpiece here.
"Oh suns and skies and clouds of June, and flowers of June together
Ye cannot rival for one hour October's bright blue weather!"  Happily quoted in unison with Katie (very happy news at her blog!) who also posted this favorite autumn poem of ours.  (Etc.)
“No spring nor summer beauty hath such grace
As I have seen in one autumnal face.”
~ John Donne
It also inspires me to write poetry, for autumn is of my very heart and soul, holding as it does, such an abundance of both happiness and melancholy.
This, that I posted a while ago, is one of my favorites.
And now for the latest.  Not entirely an autumnal poem, but inspired by and written during.

"Scan the ancient sky and understand where I belong"

Laughing with the summer light
And dancing with the trees
Running on the fallen logs
And leaping in the breeze

Rolling through the drying brush
And chasing grassy scents
Waking up before the dawn
In rain-invaded tents

Taking in the shifting clouds
 And relishing the rain
Strain to hear the five-mile-distant
Whistle of the train

Scaling trees and hiding in them
Feel their ridgy bark
Resting back in curves of leafy bough,
Until it's dark

Wood duck calls and water ripples
Willows dip their fronds
Laying still among the rushes
Spying on the ponds

Many-textured barefoot scamper
Hurdle ditch and shadow
Print the mud beside the creek
And flop back in the meadow

Snug between the fragrant stacks
In straw up to your knees
Watching now blue diamond-skies
And passing geese in V's

Flannel shirts and Wellingtons
The north-wind's bracing air
Finding later, leaves and oats
From climbing, in my hair

Climbing higher, branch to branch
A fortress in a tree
Shelter and adventure, both
My favorite place to be

Leaves stained firey, bright and brittle
Drifting as the forest weeps
Cast about by autumn drizzle
Blown in fairy heaps

“I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.”
~ L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

6 comments:

Julian said...

Beautiful poetry,and quotes. Beautiful pictires! Thankyou! Christina

Mrs.Rabe said...

Beautiful post, Olivia.

I feel this way, but can never quite describe it! You did it for me so beautifully!

Thanks
Deanna

Kat said...

Beauty, beauty, beauty. Thank you for sharing your wonderful gift with words, capturing these things we feel.

Jodi said...

You are a splendid wonder, my dear friend.

Michal Conger said...

Oivia dearest, may I have your permission to put your poem in my blog post about November (with a link back of course)? I think it's so fitting!

Olivia said...

Of course, dear cousin! Thank you!