“Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness…

Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun”

After an excess of “dang muggy” days, as a friend puts it, autumn has begun to insinuate herself, the leaves beginning their fading blaze, cool mornings, and if not Keats’ poetic mist, a certain amount of companionable rain after a long summer.

Some seasonal lines and images.





It is a storm-strid night, winds footing swift
Through the blind profound;
I know the happenings from their sound;
Leaves totter down still green, and spin and drift;
The tree-trunks rock to their roots, which wrench and lift
The loam where they run onward underground.

The streams are muddy and swollen; eels migrate
To a new abode;
Even cross, ’tis said, the turnpike-road;
(Men’s feet have felt their crawl, home-coming late):
The westward fronts of towers are saturate,
Church-timbers crack, and witches ride abroad.

—Thomas Hardy, c 1925






It was early in October when the sky was terribly uncertain that I decided to set out on a journey. I could not help feeling vague misgivings about the future of my journey, as I watched the fallen leaves of autumn being carried away by the wind.

From this day forth
I shall be called a wanderer,
Leaving on a journey
Thus among the early showers.

You will again sleep night after night
Nestled among the flowers of sasanqua.

Basho, from “The Records of a Travel-worn Satchel”






The last leaf that is going to fall has fallen.
The robins are là-bas, the squirrels, in tree-caves,
Huddle together in the knowledge of squirrels.

–Wallace Stevens, from “An Ordinary Evening in New Haven”


Fall Words

mums at Dumbarton
Chrysanthemums at Dumbarton Oaks Gardens. Getting ready for their last act death scene in the opera called “autumn.”

Nice news all around…back in DC after long, but stimulating, work trips. Happy World Series results, and a true fall day in DC. Misty morning, with bright fall leaves through cool damp. Calling forth Keats “Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness.”

And Wallace Steven‘s lines from “An Ordinary Evening in New Haven” come to mind, (looking forward to December).

The last leaf that is going to fall has fallen.

The robins are la-bas, the squirrels, in tree-caves,

Huddle together in the knowledge of squirrels.

The wind has blown the silence of summer away.

It buzzes beyond the horizon or in the ground:

In mud under ponds, where the sky used to be reflected.

The barrenness that appears is an exposing.

It is not part of what is absent, a halt

For farewells, a sad hanging on for remembrances.

Happy Halloween!

Poem of the Season: Keats

Yes, it is  one of the “the most anthologized poems in the English language” but still worth a visit on a crisp September Day:


John Keats (1785-1821)

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-eves run;
To bend 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 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’er-brimm’d 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-reap’d furrow sound asleep,
   Drows’d 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 cyder-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 red-breast whistles from a garden-croft;
      And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.


Dumbarton Oaks, a museum and garden in Washington DC. A photo I took last fall on a visit when I had the place to myself. No lambs were bleating, however.
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