Poesie: Keats’ To Autumn

Few poets produced more great poetry at an earlier age than John Keats.

This last of John Keats‘ six great odes was written on the day before the fall equinox in 1819, when Keats was 24 years old.  A child of the fall (he was born on Halloween 1795, which makes him a Scorpio), one can imagine why he made fall “the human season” in contrast with the super-human creativity of spring and the otherworldy extremism of summer and winter.  Being a child of the fall myself, I can understand him well.

Here’s to all who were born in the fall!

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-eves 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 twined 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 barred 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.

John Keats (1795 – 1821)

insta maple leaves.jpg

Poesie: Blake’s Hear the Voice of the Bard

A Bard used to be much more than a mere wordsmith.

Hear the Voice of the Bard

Hear the voice of the Bard!
Who present, past, and future sees;
Whose ears have heard
The Holy Word,
That walked among the ancient trees,

Calling the lapsed soul,
And weeping in the evening dew;
That might control
The starry pole,
And fallen, fallen, light renew!

‘O Earth, O Earth, return!
Arise from out the dewy grass;
Night is worn,
And the morn
Rises from the slumberous mass.

‘Turn away no more;
Why wilt thou turn away?
The starry floor,
The watery shore,
Is given thee till the break of day.’

~ William Blake

DSCN0053 - Edited.jpg

In medieval Gaelic and Welsh society, a bard was a professional poet, employed to compose eulogies for his lord. In other Indo-European societies, the same function was fulfilled by skalds, rhapsodes, minstrels and scops, among others.  A hereditary caste of professional poets in Proto-Indo-European society has been reconstructed by comparison of the position of poets in medieval Ireland and in ancient India in particular.  Bards were those who sang the songs recalling tribal history, family history and genealogies in Celtic societies.  The pre-Christian Celtic peoples maintained an intricate oral history committed to memory and transmitted by bards.

 

William Blake (28 November 1757 – 12 August 1827) was an English poet, painter, and printmaker.  Largely unrecognised during his lifetime, Blake is now considered one of the most important poets and visual artists of the Romantic Age.

%d bloggers like this: