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Date:4/24/2014 4:52:45 PM
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Autumn Poetry Part II
I was writing about Autum poetry, and how at this time of year, we have a little time after the harvest to take stock and to appreciate the year. Certainly the beauty of the season prompts something within us to try to describe what we feel. Helen Hunt Jackson's October's Bright Blue Weather is famous for that:

O suns and skies and clouds of June,
And flowers of June together,
Ye cannot rival for one hour
October's bright blue weather.

But there's also the harvest to celebrate, and I like the mood of James Whitcomb Riley's When the Frost is On the Pumpkin.

I don't know how to tell it--but ef sich a thing could be
As the Angels wantin' boardin', and they'd call around on me-
I'd want to 'commodate 'em--all the whhole-indurin' flock--
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock!

This sentiment of plenty, like the image of the Cornucopia and the Holiday of Thanksgiving, expresses the feeling of gratefulness for a full harvest and a readiness for winter's rest. But I also identify with the indescribable longing of Autumn. My favorite Fall poem is Chanson d'automne by Paul Verlaine. "Autumn Song" is one of the most famous French poems in literature. Stanzas of the poem were transmitted by the BBC during WWII as code to the French Resistance to inform them of the date that the D-Day invasion was to begin.

As I understand it; poetry uses the sounds and meanings of its words to paint a visual picture in the reader's/listener's minds. With Chanson d'automne, both the meaning of the words, and their sound, express the sweet sadness of the falling of the leaves:

Les sanglots longs
(The long sobs)
Des violons
(Of the violins)
De l'automne
(Of Autumn)
Blessent mon coeur
( Wound my heart)
D'une langueur
(With a monotonous)
Monotone.
Languor.,)

Tout suffocant
(All choked)
Et blême, quand
(and pale, when)
Sonne l'heure,
(The hour chimes)
Je me souviens
( I remember)
Des jours anciens
( Days of old)
Et je pleure
(And I cry)

Et je m'en vais
(And I'm going)
Au vent mauvais
(On an ill wind)
Qui m'emporte
(That carries me)
Deçà, delà,
(Here and there,)
Pareil à la
(As if a)
Feuille morte.
(Dead leaf.)

Sadness, sweetness, longing, and also thanksgiving. This is why I say that I identify with Autumn. --Gary
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