Ode to Autumn…

“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.” ~ Albert Camus

As the twilight of the year is upon us I thought I would give you a break from my ramblings and offer instead some high culture to round off my favourite season – Autumn.

Claude Monet - the-studio-boat-1876

Claude Monet – The Studio Boat (1876)

I have taken a selection of poetry, music and art relating this most rustic of seasons, (and yes, it wouldn’t be complete without some music from Vivaldi!) to fill you with awe and admiration at nature’s most vibrant of transitions.

It seems appropriate to turn to prose, while the last of the orange leaves cling doggedly to wind-battered trees…

The temporary and mutable aspects of our existence are highlighted so beautifully in Autumn.  The descriptions of Autumn in relation to a human lifespan mirror those of the seasons, and can be likened to a person reaching their most vivid and vibrant peak; having reaped the harvest of a lifetime of experience, still benefiting from bountiful health, before the inevitable decline into the winter of life, which implies death…

In that regard perhaps we’d all wish for an Indian summer!

Enjoy some wonderful, evocative paintings by the likes of Monet, van Gogh, Henry Herbert La Thangue, Atkinson Grimshaw and Camille Pissarro, mixed with some of the most beautiful verses ever written about Autumn…

Digging ~ Edward Thomas (1878 – 1917)

Today I think

Only with scents, – scents dead leaves yield,

And bracken, and wild carrot’s seed,

And the square mustard field;


Odours that rise

When the spade wounds the root of tree,

Rose, currant, raspberry, or goutweed,

Rhubarb or celery;

The smoke’s smell, too,

Flowing from where a bonfire burns

The dead, the waste, the dangerous,

And all to sweetness turns.


It is enough

To smell, to crumble the dark earth,

While the robin sings over again

Sad songs of Autumn mirth.

Autumn Garden - Van Gogh

Marsh Marigolds ~ Nora Hopper (Mrs Chesson) (1871 – 1906)

Here in the water-meadows

Marsh Marigolds ablaze

Brighten the elder shadows

Lost in autumn haze.

Drunkards of sun and summer

They keep their colours clear,

Flaming among the marshes

At the waning of the year.


Thicker than bee-swung clovers

They crowd the meadow-space:

Each to the mist that hovers

Lifts an undaunted face.

Time that has stripped the sunflower,

And driven the bees away,

Hath on these golden gypsies

No power to dismay.


Marsh marigolds together

Their ragged banners lift

Against the darkening weather,

Lost rains and frozen drift:

They take the lessening sunshine

Home to their hearts to keep

Against the days of darkness,

Against the time of sleep.

marsh-marigolds by Henry Herbert la Thangue (1859 - 1929)

John Keats – Ode to Autumn:

Yoko Ono

Spring passes and one remembers one’s innocence.

Summer passes and one remembers one’s exuberance.

Autumn passes and one remembers one’s reverence.

Winter passes and one remembers one’s perseverance.

Monet - Japanese Bridge in Autumn

“No spring nor summer beauty hath such grace as I have seen in one autumnal face.” ~ John Donne

Elegy IX: The Autumnal 

Dante Gabriel Rossetti – Autumn Song:

 “That time of year thou mayst in me behold” (Sonnet 73)  by William Shakespeare

That time of year thou mayst in me behold

When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang

Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,

Bare ruined choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.

In me thou see’st the twilight of such day

As after sunset fadeth in the west;

Which by and by black night doth take away,

Death’s second self, that seals up all in rest.

In me thou see’st the glowing of such fire,

That on the ashes of his youth doth lie,

As the deathbed whereon it must expire,

Consumed with that which it was nourished by.

This thou perceiv’st, which makes thy love more strong,

To love that well which thou must leave ere long.

John Atkinson Grimshaw - november-afternoon-stapleton-park

William Blake – To Autumn:

 Charles Baudelaire – Chant d’Automne


Soon we shall plunge into the cold darkness;

Farewell, vivid brightness of our short-lived summers!

Already I hear the dismal sound of firewood

Falling with a clatter on the courtyard pavements.


All winter will possess my being: wrath,

Hate, horror, shivering, hard, forced labor,

And, like the sun in his polar Hades,

My heart will be no more than a frozen red block.


All atremble I listen to each falling log;

The building of a scaffold has no duller sound.

My spirit resembles the tower which crumbles

Under the tireless blows of the battering ram.


It seems to me, lulled by these monotonous shocks,

That somewhere they’re nailing a coffin, in great haste.

For whom? — Yesterday was summer; here is autumn

That mysterious noise sounds like a departure.


I love the greenish light of your long eyes,

Sweet beauty, but today all to me is bitter;

Nothing, neither your love, your boudoir, nor your hearth

Is worth as much as the sunlight on the sea.


Yet, love me, tender heart! be a mother,

Even to an ingrate, even to a scapegrace;

Mistress or sister, be the fleeting sweetness

Of a gorgeous autumn or of a setting sun.


Short task! The tomb awaits; it is avid!

Ah! let me, with my head bowed on your knees,

Taste the sweet, yellow rays of the end of autumn,

While I mourn for the white, torrid summer!

autumn-montfoucault-pond-1875 Camille Pissarro

Miles Davis – Autumn Leaves:

The brilliant baroque concerto from Antonio Vivaldi with Julia Fischer and the Academy of St. Martin In The Fields:

I’ll leave you with this poignant performance of Tchaikovsky – The Seasons ‘October’ Vladimir Tropp on Piano:


 “I would rather sit on a pumpkin, and have it all to myself, than be crowded on a velvet cushion.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

One thought on “Ode to Autumn…

  1. Pingback: #SundayBlogShare – Autumn Foliage 🍂🍁 | rhap.so.dy in words

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