Wednesday, October 02, 2013

What in the Samhain....?

The celtic feast of Samhain is Oct 31. It's a time when the veil between our world and the nether world, the world of spirits, is very thin. I have written about Samhain before. It is a time of mourning, a time of connecting with those who have gone before us and a time of reflecting on our own existence and our own passing.

Maybe this is why so many blogs that I have read lately have an undercurrent of sadness. Well, perhaps it's more of a bittersweetness, or a melancholy, than a real sense of loss. It's a feeling that comes with the passing of summer and the advent of winter. Whatever the force, it has created some of the most memorable writing, especially in poetry!!

Spring poems have a joy about them, that is effervescent. Summer poems are languid, lazy lyrics that live for the moment, but autumn poems are the stuff of life. They are the equivalent of Shakespearean tragedies, we love them; but they make us cry!!

One of the most enduring of these works is John Keats' Ode To Autumn.

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 moss'd cottage-trees,         5
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;  10
For Summer has o'erbrimm'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;  15
Or on a half-reap'd furrow sound asleep,
Drowsed with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
Spares the next swath and all its twinèd flowers:
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
Steady thy laden head across a brook;  20
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 barrèd clouds bloom the soft-dying day  25
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;  30
Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
The redbreast whistles from a garden-croft;
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.

I always remember the first and the last lines of this poem. In fact I never really remember correctly the last line. I quote it either as - "gathering swallows twitter in the skies." or as "twittering swallows gather in the skies." And does it really matter.

The fact is the next stop is winter.

Enjoy your Autumn day!!

No comments:

Post a Comment