Each year around the autumnal equinox, I become positively lyrical. There is something magical about Fall, especially for those who reside at the foothills of the Appalachians in the American South.
Autumn has always been my favorite season. What is not to love about Fall? The unparalleled beauty of mother nature, delicious spicy beverages, extra snuggle time with the kids, and ladles of warm soup (red gram soup).
Most of all I love the amazing colorful hikes that provide plenty of adventure! Who says you have to travel the world over to find the beautiful? Unsurpassed beauty can be found in your own backyard!
Poets often symbolize Spring as a season of regeneration and rebirth, while Fall signals the end of a busy summer and hints at the approaching winter. While we anticipate and celebrate Fall, there also seems to be a shadow of sorrow cast over this season.
Even while the trees start to shed their leaves and stand in stark outline against gray skies, beneath their outer bark, life continues to thrive. The trees don’t stop growing, they continue to be nurtured from within throughout winter, preparing to bloom in vibrant colors during spring.
Just as seasons vary from year to year, we must remember that the phases in our lives may vary too. The hard labors of summer or the wait of a long winter may seem intolerable and interminable. But instead of being unhappy or impatient, we can enjoy each season for what it brings.
This Fall, remember to cherish the bountiful harvest of your life. Appreciate and affirm your achievements! Rejuvenate your spirits during winter so that you can plant a new crop in the spring.
Here are five of my favorite poems about autumn. They show us the sublime joy and enlightenment that this season can bring.
Nature, XXVIII, Autumn
BY EMILY DICKINSON
One can only imagine Emily Dickinson’s life growing up in New England, immersed in nature and beauty. You can almost envision her being inspired by the stunning colors of her native landscape to adorn her ensemble with trinkets.
Like Dickinson, don’t permit the grayness of the world to dampen your spirits. Look to nature for inspiration!
The morns are meeker than they were,
The nuts are getting brown;
The berry’s cheek is plumper,
The rose is out of town.
The maple wears a gayer scarf,
The field a scarlet gown.
Lest I should be old-fashioned,
I’ll put a trinket on.
Imagine my delight when I discovered that the eminent Indian poet Kalidasa had written about Fall! Being born in the tropical climate of Southeast India, I have had but a brief encounter with Autumn in my homeland.
Kalidasa’s poem evokes a longing in my heart to return to India and explore the unspoiled countryside.
The autumn comes, a maiden fair
In slenderness and grace,
With nodding rice-stems in her hair
And lilies in her face.
In flowers of grasses she is clad;
And as she moves along,
Birds greet her with their cooing glad
Like bracelets’ tinkling song.
A diadem adorns the night
Of multitudinous stars;
Her silken robe is white moonlight,
set free from cloudy bars;
And on her face (the radiant moon)
Bewitching smiles are shown:
She seems a slender maid, who soon
Will be a woman grown.
Over the rice-fields, laden plants
Are shivering in the breeze;
While in his brisk caresses dance
The blossomed-burdened trees;
He ruffles every lily-pond
Where blossoms kiss and part,
And stirs with lover’s fancies fond
The young man’s eager heart.
The Road Not Taken
BY ROBERT FROST
In his most famous and often misunderstood poem, Frost inspects two leafy paths in a yellow wood (in Autumn). Although the two paths are much the same, he chooses the one less traveled. He anticipates recounting this tale at a later time and wondering about the road not chosen.
The opportunities we are presented with, are equally viable and unknown. The only way we will ever know is in retrospect. Remorse is inevitable no matter which path you take. So begin today, go forth and seize the season!
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
Said A Blade Of Grass, The Madman, Chapter 30
BY KHALIL GIBRAN
What a strange and beautiful poem! Alas, aren’t we all leaves that look down upon blades of grass at some time in our life?
Let us remember to enjoy the view from our lofty perch and be kinder to those blades who we may yet join.
Said a blade of grass to an autumn leaf, “You make such a noise falling! You scatter all my winter dreams.”
Said the leaf indignant, “Low-born and low-dwelling! Songless, peevish thing! You live not in the upper air and you cannot tell the sound of singing.”
Then the autumn leaf lay down upon the earth and slept. And when spring came she waked again — and she was a blade of grass.
And when it was autumn and her winter sleep was upon her, and above her through all the air the leaves were falling, she muttered to herself, “O these autumn leaves! They make such a noise! They scatter all my winter dreams.”
BY JAMES WRIGHT
Wright’s poem straddles the line between the concrete and ephemeral in glorious free verse while exploring the depths of the human mind.
We all shy away from the darkness, searching for answers outside of ourselves. Little do we know that the answer has always lain within us, unnamed and unheeded.
Call it faith or belief, leaning into the truth within ourselves is the beginning of an authentic life.
The moon drops one or two feathers into the field.
The dark wheat listens.
There they are, the moon’s young, trying
Between trees, a slender woman lifts up the lovely shadow
Of her face, and now she steps into the air, now she is gone
Wholly, into the air.
I stand alone by an elder tree, I do not dare breathe
The wheat leans back toward its own darkness,
And I lean toward mine.
I hope you enjoyed these poems. Do you have any favorite poems about Autumn? What do you love most about this season. Share your thoughts in the comments below!
Yours in faith and truth,