Pic & Poem of the Week: October 9, 2016

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Fall in the Park

(Click on picture for larger image)

• • •

Immortal Autumn

I speak this poem now with grave and level voice
In praise of autumn, of the far-horn-winding fall.

I praise the flower-barren fields, the clouds, the tall
Unanswering branches where the wind makes sullen noise.

I praise the fall: it is the human season.

Now
No more the foreign sun does meddle at our earth,
Enforce the green and bring the fallow land to birth,
Nor winter yet weigh all with silence the pine bough,

But now in autumn with the black and outcast crows
Share we the spacious world: the whispering year is gone:
There is more room to live now: the once secret dawn
Comes late by daylight and the dark unguarded goes.

Between the mutinous brave burning of the leaves
And winter’s covering of our hearts with his deep snow
We are alone: there are no evening birds: we know
The naked moon: the tame stars circle at our eaves.

It is the human season. On this sterile air
Do words outcarry breath: the sound goes on and on.
I hear a dead man’s cry from autumn long since gone.

I cry to you beyond upon this bitter air.

By Archibald MacLeish

• • •

Archibald MacLeish, “Immortal Autumn” from Collected Poems 1917-1982.
Copyright © 1985 by The Estate of Archibald MacLeish.
Reprinted with the permission of Houghton Mifflin Company.
All rights reserved.

5 thoughts on “Pic & Poem of the Week: October 9, 2016

  1. “I speak this poem now with grave and level voice
    In praise of autumn, of the far-horn-winding fall.”

    To me the “grave and level” voice is required if one is to genuinely, as opposed to hollowly or flippantly, praise autumn. It requires life experience, mostly the painful kind, to see resurrection’s promise through all the dying. To praise the ‘fall’ is to embrace its color but also to gravely embrace its dying. That requires more than a moment’s reflection. That’s what I hear. Him saying in that line.

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  2. Of the four seasons of my remembered youth, autumn is the one I miss most living 41 years in southern California. I AM fortunate that I can travel one hour by car to the local mountains to get a glimpse of that season, but it is not the same as living it for its duration.

    Also, the bleakest time of year is that space where autumn departs and a snowless and rainy winter begins. This, in my memory, is the closest approximation of death that I can imagine. Barren earth, leaden sky, and no green to be seen. The droppings and leavings of human detritus lay exposed on the ground, reminding us that man does not create so much as he produces waste.

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