Archives for posts with tag: autumn
Cherry Hill Nature Preserve walking path

By Dwight Burdette (Own work) [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0) or CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Along a back road

He set off from the village
when the blossoms dropped
their petal tears
and the green buds bid
to escape from the branches.

While walking along a
back road,
he was stopped

First by an old woman
who bent over a stick.
The stick gave way on the path.
The old woman fell
and struck her knee on a stone.
She said there was no need to worry anyone.

He could not pause too long
and, as she had said, there was not much he could do.
Along the back road
he continued walking
under trees now shadowing
with their leaves
and he was stopped

By a young man with hard arms
who implored and
would not let go.
This circling did not hurt
until the man dropped his embrace
and dissolved into the darkened roadside.

The journeying man
could not pause too long. There
was not much he could do
along the back road.
He continued walking.

He continued walking
and after some time
in the summer sunshine
he took off his shoes
and drank at a waterspout.
He was stopped

by a sweet-talking salesman
in a clean shirt, buttoned down
with a solution.
This opportunity would surpass the roaming.
Here, if the journeying man would
step off the back road.

He put on his shoes, washed his face
at the waterspout. He should not pause
too long. There was not much he could do
on the back road if he should keep walking.

The trees were dropping their leaves
and mushrooms clustered at their roots.


Given the contemporary climate of gender pronoun fluidity, it occurs to me that this may be in an antiquated voice. I had in mind those old fairy tales (such as “The Tinderbox”) and in particular those where the traveller – often a soldier or humble village man – is confronted by three companions on the trail.

For interest, you could try changing the ‘he’ for ‘she’, or your choice of gender neutral pronoun.

Aster yomena yomena02

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. by No machine-readable author provided. Keisotyo assumed (based on copyright claims). [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons. No endorsement of BeadedQuill’s work by this author should be implied.

Plant asters by autumn

When all else fades,
semi-trailing heath comes
into its own. In banks and borders

snow-petalled asters make a
brilliant ground cover. Shimmering
their heads: a butterfly magnet
in the wildlife garden’s

banks and borders. Plant this by autumn,
plant this great choice in height and spread
before the winter turns.


I spend the occasional sunny, bright afternoons sitting on a plastic chair in the backyard staring at the hanging roses, pink hydrangeas and purple foxgloves. I am no gardener at present, and do nothing in this patch of yard in the house where I lodge. When I was a child, I first had a corner bed in which grew a pink hibiscus bush. Later I had a patch of soil next to my wendyhouse in the back garden and as a pre-teen I changed the flowering contents of a box outside my bedroom window. Since living the rented room life, I have dabbled with the usual supermarket herbs in pots and seasonal indoor bulbs. Currently, I am nursing an Ikea spathiphyllum that moves from the chest of drawers next to my bed to the sun-catching shelf on the other side of my room. It really needs a dose of plant food and would probably benefit from re-potting.

I love spending time in green spaces, surrounded by plants, and sometimes I find myself drawn to glossy, coffee-table garden books in bookshops or the gardening pages of home magazines. Yesterday I was leafing through the Guardian Weekend and stumbled across the gardening pages and started reading the “What to do the week” section. The advice covered Thin this, Read this, Plant this; reduce clusters of fruit on your trees, read up about 101 chillies and consider planting asters in time for autumn.

Today’s resulting poem is drawn from the column and echoes another poem, “look – really look”. This poem of two years ago (and uncannily this very time of year) was also inspired by the Guardian Weekend’s gardening pages. The relationship between gardening, seasons and plants holds a deep mystery for me. Birds, and especially butterflies, are for me symbolic messengers from another realm. My paternal grandmother was a botanist and her interest in the flowering world seemed to be the science and beauty. My interest is the beauty and lessons it offers about our human flurries.

It is no coincidence that garden banks and border feature in today’s poem during these times when both national and economic security are under pressure in many parts of the world. There is something of ‘the lilies of the valley in all their beauty’ about the delicate snow-petalled asters. Yet, as they trail like other determined ground-covers, they may prove the surviving, life-continuing film when the monuments of mankind have faltered. There are seasons of all kinds, both in the natural world and in our rhythm as humanity. Perhaps planting star-like flowers is not such a bad task to consider before autumn. As three of my favourite lines from “look – really look” remind us:

Concrete is brutal.
It needs softening.
Plants should have dominion.


During the first months of posting on my blog in 2012, I opened this short piece with a reminiscence about the red creepers that draped my undergraduate university during autumn. I went on to comment on the dark evenings that enclose this season in the Northern hemisphere

I tweet much more when I’m in on a chilly autumn evening. Find me on Twitter as @BeadedQuill.
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If you prefer paging through a book under a blanket with cocoa at hand, consider one of the titles from my BeadedQuill Bookstore at Blurb.

Illustration details: Cropped and re-tinted image by Jules Grandgagnage (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons.

Image courtesy of the Old Design Shop.

Image courtesy of the Old Design Shop.

The dark encroaches earlier and the temperatures drop. September heralds autumnal change. This time last year I was already battening down by spending more evenings in with the creaking heating, baking and feeling the quiet life.

Kirchner 1913 Street, Berlin.jpg
Kirchner 1913 Street, Berlin“. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

John Keats wrote his famous ode ‘To Autumn‘ on the 19th of September 1819. This partially inspired my poem posted this time last year. (This year, we are enjoying a generous bolt of extended warmth. The colder snap is still to come.)

Autumn’s ripened harvest store” offers up the autumn harvest of a modern Northern metropolis. The season is one of sneezes, the onset of black coats and umbrellas, nights that close in earlier and the rise of comfort eating as the cold sets in.

When I first started posting on this blog, I wrote about the autumn memories from my undergraduate days. Soon afterwards I posted an early (lovely) poem which was also born during autumn. Those “brown beacons” on a stark tree struck me as I trudged the streets of a Polish town (where I worked in my twenties). Those beacons have remained with me ever since.

It is the city in autumn, without the associated glow of golden leaves or scattering seedpods, that today’s archive poem captures. Much of my current writing draws on my experience of London – its suburbs and centre.  In looking for an illustration, I hoped to find a scene of men on grey pavements, in black coats, holding up black umbrellas against dreary drizzle. Kirchner’s street scene is in parts too vibrant to fulfill these requirements. However, the people (like others in his city depictions) capture the strident anonymity of urban existence. I decided against cropping the image because the composition is so striking – and who knows, perhaps the woman in purple is the observing poet.

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Books:
In the Ocean: a year of poetry
Emily’s Poems for Modern Boys
Shining in Brightness: Selected Poems, 1999 – 2012

adroit, adept, conker,
weary boeuf and stew.
The nights are closing in;
the mushrooms sprouting
      on their monopeds.

The pipes are closing in
with nights re-wakening with heating.


Here above, some words combined at the end of September last year as autumn brought in a change of light, of taste preferences, of colours and of temperature. Autumn brings in earlier darkness, fallings conkers, longed for comforting stews and a weariness at the thought of the long winter ahead. Sylvia Plath’s poem always comes to mind when the mushrooms make their seasonal appearance. I see the little fungi relishing the increased dampness in the soil and the dank of darker mornings in self-fuelling ways I simply envy.

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Books:
Emily’s Poems for Modern Boys and Shining in Brightness

There is exercise in

the rooted words. Knead! Knead!

Glance, the rooted words

are closing in.

About the even’ shift

the sprouting pipes creak thin their heat –

a flailing dance of

conker-burst  – Knead! Knead!

The Beautiful Life is different.

This poem is part of a current project to write two poems a week for 52 weeks. The aim is to create a pool of 104 poems and prove that if one writes enough poems some gems will surely result.

In the interim, preview here my first volume of poems published earlier this year.

Follow me on Twitter as @BeadedQuill. I comment on whatever passes through my day – which includes poetry and art.

Black coats, black pavements, black umbrellas, the rain
Nights black by 20:00. Achoos in the office.
Splutters on the train. Time to switch on the heating and
buy doughnuts in the morning. There has sprung the winter hunger
and it will only grow

On the 19th September 1819, John Keats wrote this lilting ode ‘To Autumn.‘ Images of his autumn’s fruitful harvest jarred with my Thursday of cold snap, rain and ubiquitous black umbrellas.

Follow me on Twitter where I tweet as @BeadedQuill.

Preview my first volume, SHINING IN BRIGHTNESS, here, It includes poems selected from twelve years’ worth of writing in South America, the USA, South Africa and Europe.