Peevish Pen

Ruminations on reading, writing, rural living, retirement, aging—and sometimes cats. And maybe a border collie or other critters.

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Location: Rural Virginia, United States

I'm an elderly retired teacher who writes. Among my books are Ferradiddledumday (Appalachian version of the Rumpelstiltskin story), Stuck (middle grade paranormal novel), Patches on the Same Quilt (novel set in Franklin County, VA), Them That Go (an Appalachian novel), Miracle of the Concrete Jesus & Other Stories, and several Kindle ebooks.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Waxing Poetic

Today seems like fall—even though the autumnal equinox is Sunday at 9:51. A misty rain has been falling since late morning. In early afternoon, the day is silvery-dark.

Robert Frost’s “My November Guest” fits even though it’s September:

My Sorrow, when she's here with me,
Thinks these dark days of autumn rain
Are beautiful as days can be;
She loves the bare, the withered tree;
She walks the sodden pasture lane.

Her pleasure will not let me stay.
She talks and I am fain to list:
She's glad the birds are gone away,
She's glad her simple worsted grey
Is silver now with clinging mist.

The desolate, deserted trees,
The faded earth, the heavy sky,
The beauties she so truly sees,
She thinks I have no eye for these,
And vexes me for reason why.

Not yesterday I learned to know
The love of bare November days
Before the coming of the snow,
But it were vain to tell her so,
And they are better for her praise.

Some of my other favorite lines about fall are from John Brown’s Body, by Stephen Vincent Benét:

Fall of the possum, fall of the 'coon,
And the lop-eared hound-dog baying the moon.
Fall that is neither bitter nor swift
But a brown girl bearing an idle gift,
A brown seed-kernel that splits apart
And shows the Summer yet in its heart,
A smokiness so vague in the air
You feel it rather than see it there,
A brief, white rime on the red clay road
And slow mules creaking a lazy load
Through endless acres of afternoon,
A pine-cone fire and a banjo-tune,
And a julep mixed with a silver spoon.

Your noons are hot, your nights deep-starred,
There is honeysuckle still in the yard,
Fall of the quail and the firefly-glows
And the pot-pourri of the rambler-rose,
Fall that brings no promise of snows . . .

This almost-fall day on the eastern edge of Virginia’s Blue Ridge is “neither bitter nor swift.” The leaves are browning, especially on the pin oak in the side yard. I doubt this fall will have bright colors. August’s dry heat parched everything.

My rosebush, grown from a cutting Mama gave me and planted here in 1999, still has a few blooms. We’ve had no frost yet—and won’t until sometime in October, so no rime whitens our red clay. The days are cooler, though.

And rain is falling.



Blogger Ibby Greer said...

Beautiful. Thanks, Becky. Makes me appreciate the outdoors and the season even more. Autumn is my favorite, anyhow. And poetry usually says it best!

7:44 AM  

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