Swooping, whooshing, racing on
Into the café.
Autumn in Bowland
Leaves yellow, brown, red and gold
Drown in autumn rain
Christmas is coming
Crowds noise tempers fraying. Wish
Christmas were over
Time drips forming slow
Hours lengthening stretching out
Suddenly – all over.
Words fit together
Making sentences, songs, poems
Feeling mirrors thought.
Onions, pale globes spread in the sun,
Branches weighted with apples, bend to the grass.
Autumn haunts me, heavy with nostalgia.
It’s chutney time again,
The kitchen thick with simmering goo,
Spicy and pungent.
Time of memory and mellow fruitfulness,
The turn of the leaves
Spinning down to the dank earth
In the last long rays of autumn sun
To be gathered and garnered
Hunted and hoarded
Till the basket is full, pushed down and overflowing.
I could live without Spring, urgent, thrusting, restive,
An itch in the brain that will not go away.
I could survive without Summer.
The reality never quite living up to its promise,
Never quite enough sun, ice-cream, happiness to go round.
I wouldn’t miss Winter; icicles, jingle bells, Christmas toys
Are just a tad overdone once you pass ten.
But Autumn – that’s different, the crown of the changing year
Mature and mellow, brisk and bright, fruitful and fulfilling
Children’s voices echo in the playground, school books are resurrected
Plans are made, resolutions –
“This year I’ll learn Russian, knit myself a jumper
And redecorate the spare room.”
Of course, I don’t do any of these.
But such is the spell of Autumn
For a second I really believe I might.
Autumn – Mists and Mellow Fruitfulness – the best time of the year. At least I think so. You can keep Spring with its sprouting new life and itch in the blood and the nagging feeling that it’s time to be doing something, if only frantically spring cleaning. Summer is usually a long-drawn-out disappointment. Either too chilly, too hot or too wet. In summer you are expected to say how wonderful it all is, even if you don’t particularly enjoy sweltering heat. But Autumn – now that’s something else. The world wakes up after the long drowse of Summer. Life begins again. it can’t be just coincidence that school terms start in September – new start, new uniforms, new books, pens and pencils – though I suppose nowadays it should be tablets and laptops. The days get fresher and the nights start to draw in. Love that phrase “the nights are drawing in”. Autumn, ripeness and fruitfulness, time to gather apples and pears, to bottle and freeze, to make jams and jellies and chutneys. A mellow time. A time for the middle-aged to come into their own. Chopping apples till my hands ache and the smell of onion lingers on my fingers despite my best efforts to remove it. A time for counting the rows of jars in the kitchen cupboard ticking off the jobs that have been done and making a list of those still to be done. A time for starting new projects too. Evening classes, courses of study all start about this time of the year. I admit, though, that a web-based course of study appeals more as I get older than going out on dark nights to a sit in a chilly classroom or lecture hall. Of course my good resolutions to learn all sorts of useful skills often don’t last beyond the first flush of enthusiasm, but the projects I begin in September have a better chance of survival than those I start in January. New Year’s day is absolutely the worst time of the year for good resolutions.