I started out writing this latest missive with a bit of a blast at the notion of monarchy. After some thought, I have decided to scrap that. I will leave you all to your own opinions on the system of monarchy. I am sure you do not want to hear my ranting!
Rather let’s look at something so much more enjoyable. One of the reasons I love living in this part of the world is that we actually have seasons. I lived in Durban for a very long time. In Durban you have two seasons: very hot and wet, and hot and dry. Now at last we get to appreciate all four seasons. Autumn is here on the edge of the Karroo. The vines have turned golden brown, and the sunsets have been spectacular. The days are warm, and a slight chill is creeping in on us at night. We look forward to rain, an infrequent visitor this year. Special days lie ahead.
Here is an extract from Only Say the Word, a novel by Irish writer, Niall Williams;
“Autumn progresses. The rain is ceaseless now, and yet seems hardly to fall, a soft grey wrapped like a shroud about all west of the Shannon. Leaves of sycamore blacken and curl their edges. When the wind picks up the rain, they come slanting across the cottage window in stricken flight. All the last blossoms are faded now, and crimson geraniums are stalks of brown leaves and yellowed leaves. Everywhere the countryside is tattered, wind-wild. You can feel that somewhere in the deeps of the earth something is slowly souring which once was sweetening.
Across the valley small herds of cattle move and stand and move again for shelter. Between the showers huge blackbirds come and alight in your garden. I raise my hand from the table and they do not fly off. They wait there, as though burdened with some significance when they know they have none.
Rain comes again and streams down the window. “
This week’s poem is a tribute to Autumn. Enjoy.
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 oe’r-brimm’d their clammy cells.
Who hath not seen thee oft amid they store?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting carelessly 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 cyder-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 garden-croft;
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.
Have a good month everybody, and be careful out there.