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Tag Archives: fall

Letting Go

(“Fall Trees” c. 2018 by Alice Persons)

fall trees done

As wind and rain strip colorful leaves from the trees here in Maine, here is a timely poem by David McCann, who lives in Massachusetts.  David has two poetry collections from Moon Pie Press:  SAME BIRD and LOST AND FOUND.  Reprinted by permission; copyright 2016 by David McCann.

Detachment

She imagined each tree would have one leaf

that would be last, late November,

to give up to some indifferent gust,

or more simply at the end to gravity.

 

What prepares the leaf to fall is cold.

 

Temperature, a relative term;

the precipitous fall at night, more likely,

below a certain determinate level

that triggers a leaf’s detachment.

 

Study the leaf, she would say.

 

What it learns

as the wind sighs fly away,

take as a token of wisdom.

 

 

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Fall in England (not New England, for a change)

John Clare (1793-1864), the son of a farm laborer, was a fine Romantic poet known for his celebration of the English countryside.

 

Here is a timely Clare poem.

Autumn

The thistledown’s flying, though the winds are all still,
On the green grass now lying, now mounting the hill,
The spring from the fountain now boils like a pot;
Through stones past the counting it bubbles red-hot.

The ground parched and cracked is like overbaked bread,
The greensward all wracked is, bents dried up and dead.
The fallow fields glitter like water indeed,
And gossamers twitter, flung from weed unto weed.

Hill-tops like hot iron glitter bright in the sun,
And the rivers we’re eying burn to gold as they run;
Burning hot is the ground, liquid gold is the air;
Whoever looks round sees Eternity there.

 

Turning to a new season

red salamander
Fall affects people in differing ways. Some feel dread as the days get shorter and the temperatures drop. They worry about darkness, snow and cold when they are months away. Others, like me, love fall the best. Yep, I like all the cliched autumn things: apple picking, country fairs, turning leaves, mums and pumpkins, crisp nights, Halloween, fewer tourists in Maine….almost all of it, except pumpkin spice flavored beer and coffee. I think it’s the loveliest time to live in New England.

Here is a short, powerful poem by Denise Levertov that I have liked for a long time.

Living

The fire in leaf and grass
so green it seems
each summer the last summer.

The wind blowing, the leaves
shivering in the sun,
each day the last day.

A red salamander
so cold and so
easy to catch, dreamily

moves his delicate feet
and long tail. I hold
my hand open for him to go.

Each minute the last minute.

Poetry for an elegiac season

fall-benches

Autumn in New England, of course, is spectacular, but it also brings a sense of loss and drawing in, as days shorten, we finally turn the heat on, and batten down the house for winter. We resurrect our jackets, gloves and flannel sheets. The garden slowly dies.

Here is one of my favorite poems about fall, bittersweet like the season. I chose this for my mother’s memorial service program in June; she liked the poem.  Our mutual love of poetry (and reading) was one of our strongest bonds.

from “Autumn Sonnets” by May Sarton

If I can let you go as trees let go
Their leaves, so casually, one by one;
If I can come to know what they do know,
That fall is the release, the consummation,
Then fear of time and the uncertain fruit
Would not distemper the great lucid skies
This strangest autumn, mellow and acute.
If I can take the dark with open eyes
And call it seasonal, not harsh or strange
(For love itself may need a time of sleep),
And, treelike, stand unmoved before the change,
Lose what I lose to keep what I can keep,
The strong root still alive under the snow,
Love will endure – if I can let you go.

The year turns again to autumn

This is a tree in my neighborhood in Maine.  It’s a cliché but a true one that most of us feel lucky to live in New England this time of year.  The “FOILAGE”, as I heard someone say on the radio, is spectacular.  One’s thoughts turn to cooking, comfort food, approaching holidays, wearing fleece and putting the flannel sheets on the bed.  And, of course, reading and other indoor activities.  I read a wonderful book recently, ON THE MOVE, Dr. Oliver Sacks’ memoir.  What an extraordinary man, multi-talented and in love with language.  I had read some of his books about neurological patients and they were very good, but the memoir is even more fascinating, and I recommend it highly to you.  neighbor tree October

Pumpkins and a big prize

pumpkin_pie

young Hemingway

We’re in the pumpkin season, of course – suffering such abominations as pumpkin coffee and pumpkin beer. (Pie, bread, muffins, all that traditional stuff is great.) I threw in this photo of young Hemingway just because he was so handsome; that’s easy to forget when you see pictures of his older self.

I am so pleased that Alice Munro won the Nobel Prize in literature. I have loved her writing for decades. Some of her stories are gritty, sad, and difficult to read; there is no one who penetrates into the hearts and minds of her characters the way she does. It’s unusual for a writer who has gone the distance to only write short stories, but obviously it’s her form. It’s about time a Canadian won, too.

Wonderful quote from Oscar Wilde: “All bad poetry springs from genuine feeling.” His birthday was October 16.

Warm October

apples

fall in New England

My window boxes are still blooming, and so is a pink rose in my yard – most unusual for October in Maine. I had to mow the lawn today – usually by October that particular chore is done until spring. Last weekend I went to the Cumberland Fair and tomorrow I’m going apple picking. The state has officially declared the fall foliage to be at its peak. The pleasures of autumn in New England! The poetry scene here gets more varied this time of year, too, with slam, open mikes, featured poets and many kinds of readings and festivals all over the state. Maine Poetry Central and Moon Pie Press just released the first winner of the Michael Macklin Prize contest, a wonderful poetry collection by Michele Leavitt of Unity, Maine, called BACK EAST. It is already selling briskly and I am delighted. Michele will have a “launch” reading on November 1 at Longfellow Books in downtown Portland; details will be on the MPP website at http://www.moonpiepress.com. Other readings will happen, too. I hope to see you at a poetry event this season.