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Poems of October... Poems of Fall

 
 
Piffka
 
  1  
Reply Sat 25 Oct, 2003 07:36 am
THEME IN YELLOW

I spot the hills
With yellow balls in autumn.
I light the prairie cornfields
Orange and tawny gold clusters
And I am called pumpkins.
On the last of October
When dusk is fallen
Children join hands
And circle round me
Singing ghost songs
And love to the harvest moon;
I am a jack-o'-lantern
With terrible teeth
And the children know
I am fooling.

Carl Sandburg
0 Replies
 
Rose
 
  1  
Reply Mon 27 Oct, 2003 06:08 pm
Tears, Idle Tears



Tears idle tears, I know not what they mean,
Tears from the depth of some divine despair
Rise in the heart, and gather in the eyes,
In looking on the happy autumn-fields,
And thinking of the days that are no more.

Fresh as the first beam glittering on a sail,
That brings our friends up from the underworld,
Sad as the last which reddens over one
That sinks with all we love below the verge;
So sad, so fresh, the days that are no more.

Ah, sad and strange as in dark summer dawns
The earliest pipe of half-awakened birds
To dying ears, when unto dying eyes
The casement slowly grows a glimmering square;
So sad, so strange, the days that are no more.

Dear as remembered kisses after death,
And sweet as those by hopeless fancy feigned
On lips that are for others; deep as love,
Deep as first love, and wild with all regret;
O Death in Life, the days that are no more!


ALFRED LORD TENNYSON


The speaker sings of the baseless and
inexplicable tears that rise in his heart and pour forth from his eyes when he looks out on the fields in autumn and thinks of the past.[/b]
0 Replies
 
Piffka
 
  1  
Reply Tue 28 Oct, 2003 12:11 pm
Omigosh Rose, thanks for joining us. You are so clever! I was just going to add another Tennyson. I hope you don't mind! I've got a string of a few poems to add for the Halloween Magic crowd... These are all poems suggested by TomKitten. His library has a wealth of poetry!

So, we start with:

When Cats Run Home


When cats run home and light is come
And dew is cold upon the ground,
And the far-off stream is dumb,
And the whirring sail goes round;
Alone and warming his five wits,
The white owl in the belfry sits.

When merry milkmaids click the latch,
And rarely smells the new-mown hay,
And the cock hath sung beneath the thatch
Twice or thrice his round-e-lay;
Alone and warming his five wits,
The white owl in the belfry sits.

SPECIAL for Walter... translated by Henry Hugo Pierson (1816-1873):

Die weiße Eul'
Wenn's Kätzchen heimkehrt als es tagt,
Wenn kalt der Tau liegt auf der Flur,
Wenn der ferne Strom ganz still,
Und der Sturm die Windmühl jagt;
Allein und sinnend allzumal
Im Turme sitzt die weiße Eul'.

Wenn froh die Milchmaid naht der Tür,
Der Duft vom frischen Heu uns labt,
Dreimal unter'm Dach der haushahn kräht,
Als war er König hier;
Allein und sinnend allzumal
Im Turme sitzt die weiße Eul'.

________________________________---

And here's Oliver Wendell Holmes catching the spirit...

1892 Facsmile Text with Illustrations by Howard Pyle here Cool

... and catching
THE BROOMSTICK TRAIN

(I know... it's long, at least it's not serious, too!)

LOOK out! Look out, boys! Clear the track!
The witches are here! They've all come back!
They hanged them high,--No use! No use!
What cares a witch for a hangman's noose?
They buried them deep, but they would n't lie still,
For cats and witches are hard to kill;
They swore they should n't and would n't die,--
Books said they did, but they lie! they lie!

--A couple of hundred years, or so,
They had knocked about in the world below,
When an Essex Deacon dropped in to call,
And a homesick feeling seized them all;
For he came from a place they knew full well,
And many a tale he had to tell.

They long to visit the haunts of men,
To see the old dwellings they knew again,
And ride on their broomsticks all around
Their wide domain of unhallowed ground.

In Essex county there 's many a roof
Well known to him of the cloven hoof;
The small square windows are full in view
Which the midnight hags went sailing through,

On their well-trained broomsticks mounted high,
Seen like shadows against the sky;
Crossing the track of owls and bats,
Hugging before them their coal-black cats.

Well did they know, those gray old wives,
The sights we see in our daily drives:
Shimmer of lake and shine of sea,
Brown's bare hill with its lonely tree,
(It was n't then as we see it now,
With one scant scalp-lock to shade its brow;)
Dusky nooks in the Essex woods,
Dark, dim, Dante-like solitudes,
Where the tree-toad watches the sinuous snake
Glide through his forests of fern and brake;
Ipswich River; its old stone bridge;
Far off Andover's Indian Ridge,
And many a scene where history tells
Some shadow of bygone terror dwells,--
Of "Norman's Woe" with its tale of dread,

Of the Screeching Woman of Marblehead,
(The fearful story that turns men pale:
Don't bid me tell it,--my speech would fail.)


Who would not, will not, if he can,
Bathe in the breezes of fair Cape Ann,--
Rest in the bowers her bays enfold,
Loved by the sachems and squaws of old?
Home where the white magnolias bloom,
Sweet with the bayberry's chaste perfume,
Hugged by the woods and kissed by the sea!
Where is the Eden like to thee?

For that "couple of hundred years, or so,"
There had been no peace in the world below;
The witches still grumbling, "It is n't fair;
Come, give us a taste of the upper air!
We 've had enough of your sulphur springs,
And the evil odor that round them clings;
We long for a drink that is cool and nice,--
Great buckets of water with Wenham ice;
We 've served you well up-stairs, you know;
You 're a good old--fellow--come, let us go!"

I don't feel sure of his being good,
But he happened to be in a pleasant mood,--
As fiends with their skins full sometimes are,--
(He 'd been drinking with "roughs" at a Boston bar.)
So what does he do but up and shout
To a graybeard turnkey, "Let 'em out!"

To mind his orders was all he knew;
The gates swung open, and out they flew
"Where are our broomsticks?" the beldams cried.

"Here are your broomsticks," an imp replied.
"They 've been in--the place you know--so long
They smell of brimstone uncommon strong;
But they 've gained by being left alone,--
Just look, and you 'll see how tall they 've grown."

"And where is my cat?" a vixen squalled.
"Yes, where are our cats?" the witches bawled,
And began to call them all by name:

As fast as they called the cats, they came:
There was bob-tailed Tommy and long-tailed Tim,
And wall-eyed Jacky and green-eyed Jim,
And splay-foot Benny and slim-legged Beau,
And Skinny and Squally, and Jerry and Joe,
And many another that came at call,--
It would take too long to count them all
All black,--one could hardly tell which was which,
But every cat knew his own old witch;
And she knew hers as hers knew her,--
Ah, did n't they curl their tails and purr!
No sooner the withered hags were free
Than out they swarmed for a midnight spree
I could n't tell all they did in rhymes,
But the Essex people had dreadful times.

The Swampscott fishermen still relate
How a strange sea-monster stole their bait;
How their nets were tangled in loops and knots,
And they found dead crabs in their lobster-pots.

Poor Danvers grieved for her blasted crops,--
And Wilmington mourned over mildewed hops.
A blight played havoc with Beverly beans,--
It was all the work of those hateful queans!
A dreadful panic began at "Pride's,"
Where the witches stopped in their midnight rides,
And there rose strange rumors and vague alarms
'Mid the peaceful dwellers at Beverly Farms.

Now when the Boss of the Beldams found
That without his leave they were ramping round,
He called,--they could hear him twenty miles,
From Chelsea beach to the Misery Isles;
The deafest old granny knew his tone
Without the trick of the telephone.

"Come here, you witches! Come here!" says he,--
"At your games of old, without asking me!
I 'll give you a little job to do
That will keep you stirring, you godless crew!"

They came, of course, at their master's call,
The witches, the broomsticks, the cats, and all;

He led the hags to a railway train
The horses were trying to drag in vain.
"Now, then," says he, "you 've had your fun,
And here are the cars you 've got to run.
The driver may just unhitch his team,
We don't want horses, we don't want steam;
You may keep your old black cats to hug,
But the loaded train you 've got to lug."

Since then on many a car you 'll see
A broomstick plain as plain can be;
On every stick there 's a witch astride,--
The string you see to her leg is tied.
She will do a mischief if she can,
But the string is held by a careful man,
And whenever the evil-minded witch
Would cut some caper, he gives a twitch.

As for the hag, you can't see her,
But hark! you can hear her black cat's purr,
And now and then, as a car goes by,
You may catch a gleam from her wicked eye.

Often you 've looked on a rushing train,
But just what moved it was not so plain.
It could n't be those wires above,
For they could neither pull nor shove;
Where was the motor that made it go
You could n't guess, but now you know.

Remember my rhymes when you ride again
On the rattling rail by the broomstick train!
0 Replies
 
Tomkitten
 
  1  
Reply Tue 28 Oct, 2003 01:40 pm
Poems of October
Wow, Pffika! Generally I don't use excerpts for my Poetry Readings, so I had no idea the verse I used was one. My Sphere of Knowledge has been Enlarged! Very Happy
0 Replies
 
Tomkitten
 
  1  
Reply Tue 28 Oct, 2003 01:42 pm
Poems of October
P.S. I'm referring to Broomstick Train specifically.
0 Replies
 
Dartagnan
 
  1  
Reply Tue 28 Oct, 2003 01:45 pm
Wonderful poetry here about my favorite season!

This poem, which always gives me a not unpleasing chill when I read it, was forced on us in high school. I love it, anyhow. It's by Gerard Manley Hopkins, who knocks me out:

Spring and Fall

to a young child

MÁRGARÉT, áre you gríeving
Over Goldengrove unleaving?
Leáves, líke the things of man, you
With your fresh thoughts care for, can you?
Áh! ás the heart grows older
It will come to such sights colder
By and by, nor spare a sigh
Though worlds of wanwood leafmeal lie;
And yet you wíll weep and know why.
Now no matter, child, the name:
Sórrow's spríngs áre the same.
Nor mouth had, no nor mind, expressed
What heart heard of, ghost guessed:
It ís the blight man was born for,
It is Margaret you mourn for.
0 Replies
 
Piffka
 
  1  
Reply Wed 29 Oct, 2003 11:58 am
D'A, I like that poem very much, too, haunting words! Did your teacher say anything about the diacritical markings?


Here's a poem that mentions Autumn but comes from far away and long ago:

#5
A springlike autumn's balmy breeze reaches afar.
The sun shines on the house of a recluse
south of the river;
they encourage the December apricots
to burst into bloom:
a simplehearted person
faces the simplehearted flowers.

by Tang Guangzhen

Quote:
(Tang Guangzhen was one of) the Zen-Taoist women teachers in Song China (960-1278). Having mastered the teaching and attainment of enlightenment, these women were called "Immortal Sisters," or "Female Real People."
Very Happy
0 Replies
 
Dartagnan
 
  1  
Reply Wed 29 Oct, 2003 06:33 pm
Piffka, I don't recall what the teacher had to say about the poem, but I do know that the marks have to do with Hopkins' rhythms. He wrote in what he called "sprung rhythms." That much I know, but it will take a better Hopkins scholar than I can claim to be to explain the theory or practice...
0 Replies
 
Piffka
 
  1  
Reply Wed 29 Oct, 2003 09:35 pm
Hmmm, I wondered if you pronounced any of the words in a special way in your high school class. I found one quick mention of it on Google, just remarking that "yes, Hopkins is a little different in that respect."

Here's another poem about the spooky season from my favorite, Millay:


WRAITH

"Thin Rain, whom are you haunting,
That you haunt my door?"
--Surely it is not I she's wanting;
Someone living here before--
"Nobody's in the house but me:
You may come in if you like and see."

Thin as thread, with exquisite fingers,--
Have you seen her, any of you?--
Grey shawl, and leaning on the wind,
And the garden showing through?

Glimmering eyes,--and silent, mostly,
Sort of a whisper, sort of a purr,
Asking something, asking it over,
If you get a sound from her.--

Ever see her, any of you?--
Strangest thing I've ever known,--
Every night since I moved in,
And I came to be alone.

"Thin Rain, hush with your knocking!
You may not come in!
This is I that you hear rocking;
Nobody's with me, nor has been!"

Curious, how she tried the window,--
Odd, the way she tries the door,--
Wonder just what sort of people
Could have had this house before . . .
0 Replies
 
Dartagnan
 
  1  
Reply Thu 30 Oct, 2003 12:50 pm
That's great, Piffka!

Speaking of poetry, a friend called the other night to ask my help. Her kid, who's in high school, was assigned to explicate a poem by Emily Dickinson. Now, to my way of thinking, Dickinson is by no means the easiest poet to grapple with, and kids nowaways, as I understand it, aren't really crazy about words on a page. I'm all for challenged the youngsters, but I might have picked something a bit more accessible.

Anyhow, I dutifully dragged out my thin, college-era volume of Dickinson, plus a couple of anthologies, but couldn't find the poem in question. So mom read it to me over the phone. Not an easy way to understand a poem! I sensed it was about loss (not hard to do with this poet), and gave the best reading I could. Now I have to find out what the kid wrote for class that night!
0 Replies
 
Tomkitten
 
  1  
Reply Thu 30 Oct, 2003 12:52 pm
Poems for October
D'Artagnan - what was the poem?
0 Replies
 
Dartagnan
 
  1  
Reply Thu 30 Oct, 2003 01:15 pm
Unfortunately, because I only heard it over the phone, I would have to dig some to find it. Had to do, in part, with the idea of vision (light into a mine was a major image). All her poems are known by numbers, so I can't give you the title. If I can locate it on-line, I'll let you know, Tom...
0 Replies
 
Piffka
 
  1  
Reply Thu 30 Oct, 2003 03:07 pm
How interesting... I've tried to look, a little, but Emily Dickinson wrote A LOT of poems! If Jjorge were here, he might know it, or JD.

Here's another ghostly one from ESVM:

THE LITTLE GHOST

I knew her for a little ghost
That in my garden walked;
The wall is high--higher than most--
And the green gate was locked.

And yet I did not think of that
Till after she was gone--
I knew her by the broad white hat,
All ruffled, she had on.

By the dear ruffles round her feet,
By her small hands that hung
In their lace mitts, austere and sweet,
Her gown's white folds among.

I watched to see if she would stay,
What she would do--and oh!
She looked as if she liked the way
I let my garden grow!

She bent above my favourite mint
With conscious garden grace,
She smiled and smiled--there was no hint
Of sadness in her face.

She held her gown on either side
To let her slippers show,
And up the walk she went with pride,
The way great ladies go.

And where the walk is built in new
And is of ivy bare
She paused--then opened and passed through
A gate that once was there.

ESVM
0 Replies
 
Piffka
 
  1  
Reply Thu 30 Oct, 2003 03:15 pm
I'll won't be online to post anything tomorrow... the LAST DAY OF OCTOBER!!!.... but I wanted to be sure and add this classic, just in case someone needs to cast a spell:

from The Tragedy of Macbeth by Wm. Shakespeare

ACT IV, SCENE I.
A cavern. In the middle, a boiling cauldron.
Thunder. Enter the three Witches

First Witch
Thrice the brinded cat hath mew'd.

Second Witch
Thrice and once the hedge-pig whined.

Third Witch
Harpier cries 'Tis time, 'tis time.

First Witch
Round about the cauldron go;
In the poison'd entrails throw.
Toad, that under cold stone
Days and nights has thirty-one
Swelter'd venom sleeping got,
Boil thou first i' the charmed pot.

ALL
Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn, and cauldron bubble.


Second Witch
Fillet of a fenny snake,
In the cauldron boil and bake;
Eye of newt and toe of frog,
Wool of bat and tongue of dog,
Adder's fork and blind-worm's sting,
Lizard's leg and owlet's wing,
For a charm of powerful trouble,
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.


ALL
Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn and cauldron bubble.


Third Witch
Scale of dragon, tooth of wolf,
Witches' mummy, maw and gulf
Of the ravin'd salt-sea shark,
Root of hemlock digg'd i' the dark,
Liver of blaspheming Jew,
Gall of goat, and slips of yew
Silver'd in the moon's eclipse,
Nose of Turk and Tartar's lips,
Finger of birth-strangled babe
Ditch-deliver'd by a drab,
Make the gruel thick and slab:
Add thereto a tiger's chaudron,
For the ingredients of our cauldron.


ALL
Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn and cauldron bubble.


Second Witch
Cool it with a baboon's blood,
Then the charm is firm and good.


Enter HECATE to the other three Witches

HECATE
O well done! I commend your pains;
And every one shall share i' the gains;
And now about the cauldron sing,
Live elves and fairies in a ring,
Enchanting all that you put in.

Music and a song: 'Black spirits,' &c

HECATE retires


Second Witch
By the pricking of my thumbs,
Something wicked this way comes.

Open, locks,
Whoever knocks!

Enter MACBETH


(poor soul, poor soul)

HAPPY HALLOWEEN EVERYBODY!!!
0 Replies
 
Piffka
 
  1  
Reply Thu 28 Oct, 2004 12:34 pm
<steps in & looks around... nobody here... anybody listening?>

I'd almost forgotten about this thread. I posted this first poem for Oristar this morning and thought what a great addition it might make here. I can't remember who it was who introduced me to Mary Oliver last year... RaggedyAggie? Bree? Jjorge? Anyway... here are two poems about the feelings of fall.

The second is partly for Jjorge's mother and partly for the Days of the Dead which are coming up (with a nod to the newbie, JoeFX, who told me about calaveras).


Wild Geese

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting -
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

When Death Comes

When death comes
like the hungry bear in autumn
when death comes and takes all the bright coins from his purse

to buy me, and snaps his purse shut;
when death comes
like the measle pox;

when death comes
like an iceberg between the shoulder blades,

I want to step through the door full of curiosity, wondering;
what is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness?

And therefore I look upon everything
as a brotherhood and a sisterhood,
and I look upon time as no more than an idea,
and I consider eternity as another possibility,

and I think of each life as a flower, as common
as a field daisy, and as singular,

and each name a comfortable music in the mouth
tending as all music does, toward silence,

and each body a lion of courage, and something
precious to the earth.

When it's over, I want to say: all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was a bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.

When it's over, I don't want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don't want to find myself sighing and frightened
or full of argument.

I don't want to end up simply having visited this world.
0 Replies
 
Raggedyaggie
 
  1  
Reply Thu 28 Oct, 2004 02:12 pm
0 Replies
 
Piffka
 
  1  
Reply Thu 28 Oct, 2004 05:33 pm
That is a wonderful, wonderful poem, Aggie. I remember when Bree introduced you (and me) to Elizabeth Spires. (We should thank her every day!) Meanwhile, I thank you for posting this one. Oh, the cadence is so good and the step-by-step of her thoughts, her logic, but most of all, the images and sentiment - Heaven!
0 Replies
 
bree
 
  1  
Reply Thu 28 Oct, 2004 08:11 pm
You're too kind, both of you! I'm glad I introduced you to Elizabeth Spires, since that poem of hers that Raggedy posted is so beautiful.
0 Replies
 
Piffka
 
  1  
Reply Fri 29 Oct, 2004 11:57 am
It is so beautiful, Bree, that it is hard to come up with another. I've fallen onto Shakespeare, though not exactly a poem of autumn, it is surely a good one for the fears of All Saints and All Souls Days.

Fear No More

Fear no more the heat o' the sun;
Nor the furious winter's rages,
Thou thy worldly task hast done,
Home art gone, and ta'en thy wages;
Golden lads and girls all must,
As chimney sweepers come to dust.

Fear no more the frown of the great,
Thou art past the tyrant's stroke:
Care no more to clothe and eat;
To thee the reed is as the oak:
The sceptre, learning, physic, must
All follow this, and come to dust.

Fear no more the lightning-flash,
Nor the all-dread thunder-stone;
Fear not slander, censure rash;
Thou hast finished joy and moan;
All lovers young, all lovers must
Consign to thee, and come to dust.

No exorciser harm thee!
Nor no witchcraft charm thee!
Ghost unlaid forbear thee!
Nothing ill come near thee!
Quiet consummation have;
And renowned be thy grave!

William Shakespeare
0 Replies
 
Raggedyaggie
 
  1  
Reply Fri 29 Oct, 2004 12:59 pm
I once saw/heard Edward G. Robinson on stage , yes, the movie star, recite the last verse of Fear No More at the conclusion of the play Darkness at Noon and it was heartbreakingly beautiful. It has always been a favorite of mine.

Sara Teasdale has written several Autumn poems tinged with sadness. Here are a few:

I Could Snatch a Day

I could snatch a day out of the late autumn
And set it trembling like forgotten springs,
There would be sharp blue skies with new leaves shining
And flying shadows cast by flying wings.

I could take the heavy wheel of the world and break it,
But we sit brooding while the ashes fall,
Cowering over an old fire that dwindles,
Waiting for nothing at all.


Late October
(Bois de Boulogne)

Listen, the damp leaves on the walks are blowing
With a ghost of sound;
Is it a fog or is it a rain dripping
From the low trees to the ground?

If I had gone before, I could have remembered
Lilacs and green after-noons of May;
I chose to wait, I chose to hear from autumn
Whatever she has to say.

Epitaph

Serene descent, in a red leaf's descending
When there is neither wind nor noise of rain,
But only autumn air and the unending
Drawing of all things to the earth again.

So be it; let the snow sift deep and cover
All that was drunken once with light and air;
The earth will not regret her tireless lover,
Nor he awake to know she does not care.

(and I think of autumn when I read these words)
The Storm

I thought of you when I was wakened
By a wind that made me glad and afraid
Of the rushing, pouring sound of the sea
That the great trees made.

One thought in my mind went over and over
While the darkness shook and the leaves were thinned--
I thought it was you who had come to find me.
You were the wind.
0 Replies
 
 

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