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Autumn Threnody November 20, 2010

Posted by contrapuntalplatypus in Creative Writing, Nature, Photography, Poetry.
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“Margaret, are you grieving/Over Goldengrove unleaving…”

– Gerard Manley Hopkins (Spring and Fall: To a Young Child)

Autumn always makes me want to write poetry.

I think it’s my favorite season of the year; there’s something about that scent of dying leaves, the crisp, clean air (free now from the summer’s suffocating humidity), the pale blue of the sky and the all-too-brief but brilliant sunlight that stirs up strange emotions. All my poetry written in autumn comes out dark, even morbid, with a sense of irrecoverable loss running through it – much like the Hopkins poem I quoted above. Odd for my usual optimistic self…

So here is some (rather Hopkinsesque) autumn poetry by the Platypus, some autumn pictures I’ve taken on walks recently, and some beautiful autumnal Brahms to listen to while you explore (not in that order.) I wrote the poem several years ago while living on the west coast of British Columbia. There autumn marks the end of the dry, clear summer season; the winter rains, rather than snowfall, start in November and last more or less continuously until March or April, hence the reference to “winter’s tears” in the last line…

Autumn Threnody

Who would have thought such beauty lay in death?
Flame-fretted leaves in daylight’s dwindling ray,
Proud, flaunt their festive colors of decay,
That heady scent that permeates each breath.
Flight-weary moths that each night flutter less,
Wind-tattered webs of scattered thistle seeds,
Pale golden grass sun-seared, bone-brittle reeds,
And berries swollen ripe to rottenness.

And it must pass; this twilight season lies
In its slow-seeming perishing. Fast nears
The day the sun is hid, and from the skies,
In keen regret at all the vanished years,
The driving winds must desolate arise
And lash the woodland with a winter’s tears.

– The Contrapuntal Platypus