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
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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.
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“. 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.
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.
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.