Autumn is my favourite season, and it was my grandfather’s favourite too. In fact, you couldn’t say “Autumn” without him booming out “SEASON OF MISTS AND MELLOW FRUITFULNESS” from wherever he was standing (or the next room, when his hearing was keener). When I was a child I was well trained to bellow back the second line in reply: “CLOSE BOSOM-FRIEND OF THE MATURING SUN”. What fun we had ricocheting Keats around the house every time someone happened to casually mention Autumn. Now that my Grandad’s no longer with us, it’s at Autumn time we miss him most, especially on misty days like today. Even when my Dad and I recite Keats, it’s always missing a certain something, or someone. I would really like to share Keats’ poem with you today on such a fine Autumn day, full of all the mists and mellow fruitfulness my Grandad held dear.
Ode 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,
Drows’d 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 red-breast whistles from a garden-croft;
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.