12 September 2013

Poetry Thursday - To Autumn by John Keats

"conspiring [to] fill all fruit with ripeness to the core" (via)
Last week's misty morning brought Keats' "mist and mellow fruitfulness" to mind, so here's the whole poem.

 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,
  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,
  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;
  Or by a cider-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,
  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 redbreast whistles from a garden-croft;
    And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.

"and gathering swallows twitter in the skies" (via)
What's commonly known about Keats (1795-1821) is that he died young, ere his pen could glean his teeming brain - a sad thing indeed, but he did manage to write some excellent poems that repay close acquaintance. You can read a biography - greatly enlarged by excerpts from the 1887 biography by Sir Sidney Colvin - here, as well as access his poems and letters. And in London, you can visit Keats House, and even attend poetry workshops there.

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