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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


Rainbows and Rumi November 1, 2010

Posted by contrapuntalplatypus in About Me, Environment, Just for Fun, Nature, Serendipity.
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Three times a week I walk to the private school where I teach, about half an hour away. In fact I tend to walk almost everywhere (living in the downtown core, most services are pretty conveniently located) and, though I’ve thought several times about getting a car, it simply doesn’t seem worth it…either financially, ecologically or from a health perspective. (An hour a day of brisk walking is excellent exercise!) On those rare occasions when it is raining or snowing hard enough that I can’t bear the thought of slogging through the mess, I take public transit.

Given the amount of walking that I do, a friend of mine suggested I should always carry a camera with me, and as I was running out the door last Thursday I actually remembered to grab mine. The walk to the school was unmemorable but on the way home I snapped some beautiful shots. It had been raining and to the west, the nearly-setting sun was gleaming through a rift in the clouds, flooding the scene with golden light and creating a gorgeous rainbow…

About a minute later, a second arch had appeared above the first…pretty faint, but visible. (Note the color reversal on the second arch…red at the bottom, green/blue at the top. Now that’s awesome.) 😀

The same friend had asked me for more pictures of my spoiled rotten but oh-so-adorable golden pussycat known affectionately as Rumikitty, so I obligingly snapped a few when I got home. Here he is looking absolutely kittenish and innocent, a pleading look in his big round waif-like eyes… 🙂

…And here he reveals his true devilish personality. 😉

(As I write this post, my little feline friend is curled up in a ball on the table beside my laptop, napping contentedly as he soaks up the warmth and affection and giving no hint of the bounding, leaping, demonic clawed terror he will become in a few hours. (sigh) Cats…the Jekyll and Hyde of the animal world.)

– The Contrapuntal Platypus