A Few Poems for Autumn….

Dear Readers, I am in a very autumnal state of mind, and so I thought I’d share a couple of autumn poems with you. These were new to me, so I hope you enjoy them too. This first is by Mary Oliver (of course)

An avenue of Raywood ashes in St Pancras and Islington Cemetery

And how about this one, by Maggie Smith? The last line really got me.

First Fall

I’m your guide here. In the evening-dark
morning streets, I point and name.
Look, the sycamores, their mottled,
paint-by-number bark. Look, the leaves
rusting and crisping at the edges.
I walk through Schiller Park with you
on my chest. Stars smolder well
into daylight. Look, the pond, the ducks,
the dogs paddling after their prized sticks.
Fall is when the only things you know
because I’ve named them
begin to end. Soon I’ll have another
season to offer you: frost soft
on the window and a porthole
sighed there, ice sleeving the bare
gray branches. The first time you see
something die, you won’t know it might
come back. I’m desperate for you
to love the world because I brought you here.

And finally, this one, by Gerard Manley Hopkins. There is such tenderness about it.

Spring and Fall, by Gerard Manley Hopkins.

to a young child

Márgarét, áre you gríeving
Over Goldengrove unleaving?
Leáves like the things of man, you
With your fresh thoughts care for, can you?
Ah! ás the heart grows older
It will come to such sights colder
By and by, nor spare a sigh
Though worlds of wanwood leafmeal lie;
And yet you wíll weep and know why.
Now no matter, child, the name:
Sórrow’s spríngs áre the same.
Nor mouth had, no nor mind, expressed
What heart heard of, ghost guessed:
It ís the blight man was born for,
It is Margaret you mourn for.

Do you have a favourite autumn poem? Do share!

16 thoughts on “A Few Poems for Autumn….

  1. Anne

    To Autumn – John Keats – 1795-1821

    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.

    1. Bug Woman Post author

      You know, I knew the first few lines of this poem, but there are such lovely things in it – I love the ‘hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind’,

  2. sllgatsby

    God’s World
    by Edna St Vincent Millay

    O world, I cannot hold thee close enough!
    Thy winds, thy wide grey skies!
    Thy mists, that roll and rise!
    Thy woods, this autumn day, that ache and sag
    And all but cry with colour! That gaunt crag
    To crush! To lift the lean of that black bluff!
    World, World, I cannot get thee close enough!

    Long have I known a glory in it all,
    But never knew I this;
    Here such a passion is
    As stretcheth me apart,—Lord, I do fear
    Thou’st made the world too beautiful this year;
    My soul is all but out of me,—let fall
    No burning leaf; prithee, let no bird call.

  3. sllgatsby

    and another American poet, from the same era as Millay.

    September Midnight
    by Sara Teasdale

    Lyric night of the lingering Indian summer,
    Shadowy fields that are scentless but full of singing,
    Never a bird, but the passionless chant of insects,
    Ceaseless, insistent.
    The grasshopper’s horn, and far-off, high in the maples,
    The wheel of a locust leisurely grinding the silence
    Under a moon waning and worn, broken,
    Tired with summer.
    Let me remember you, voices of little insects,
    Weeds in the moonlight, fields that are tangled with asters,
    Let me remember, soon will the winter be on us,
    Snow-hushed and heavy.
    Over my soul murmur your mute benediction,
    While I gaze, O fields that rest after harvest,
    As those who part look long in the eyes they lean to,
    Lest they forget them.

  4. Sandra Gibson

    Last year I gave a friend of a weekly ‘gift’ of a poem a week for her birthday. I’m sure it was a comfort to us both through that long year. Anyway here are a few of the ones I send to her during the autumn months. I hope you enjoy them too and many thanks for your blog which I only discovered as I was working on her ‘birthday present’.

    October by Jean Sprackland

    Skies, big skies, careening over in the wind
    great shoals of cloud pitching and jostling
    in their rush to be anywhere other than here

    You hesitate on your doorstep, glance up
    and something tugs in your chest, rips free like a leaf
    and is sucked up and away. Everything’s

    finished here: raw-boned sycamores,
    fields scalped and sodden. The houses are shut
    and dustbins roll in their own filth in the street

    So you would take your chances, risk it all…
    You stand for a moment with the keys in your hand
    Feeling the hard pull of the sky and the moment passing


    Late October by Maya Angelou

    the leaves of autumn
    sprinkle down the tinny
    sound of little dyings
    and skies sated
    of ruddy sunsets
    of roseate dawns
    roil ceaselessly in
    cobweb greys and turn
    to black
    for comfort.

    Only lovers
    see the fall
    a signal end to endings
    a gruffish gesture alerting
    those who will not be alarmed
    that we begin to stop
    in order to begin


    Weeping Ash by Ann Pilling 2020

    It died quietly in the night. If there were death throes
    the gale swallowed them; and it fell with care
    sideways on to a holly tree which soon bounced back,
    we can see the hills now and we have more light.

    I will miss all of it, its witchy branches, its long hair,
    its stubborn refusal to leaf until spring
    had all but passed into summer. Only then
    did its long black fingernails unfurl to green.

    The logs, stacked up in chequered rows against a wall,
    will last several winters. Ash burns well.
    In the dark months we can pull up close,
    warm our hands at its flame

    as those we have loved warm
    us when we remember them.


  5. gertloveday

    Very moving poems all and some new discoveries among the old favourites. Here is a haiku I wrote about autumn

    the swish of the broom
    sweeping fallen leaves~
    the light fades


Leave a Reply