Posts Tagged ‘Autumn’

To a Young Child

Sunday, September 22nd, 2013

For the autumn equinox today, a poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins, and a painting.

RedOnionAutumn2

Márgarét, are you gríeving
Over Goldengrove unleaving?
Leáves líke the things of man, you
With your fresh thoughts care for, can you?
Áh! ás the heart grows older
It will come to such sights colder
By and by, nor spare a sigh
Though worlds of wanwood leafmeal lie;
And yet you will weep and know why.
Now no matter, child, the name:
Sórrow’s spríngs áre the same.
Nor mouth had, no nor mind, expressed
What heart heard of, ghost guessed:
It ís the blight man was born for,
It is Margaret you mourn for.
—Gerard Manley Hopkins

Autumn Fires

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012

While a few weeks of the season still remain to us, a poem for fall, from our family dinner-table verse book.

AutumnFires

CakeAutLeavesAnne Clair

Fall Song

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012

This coming Sunday, October 28th, is the last day that Fletcher’s Boathouse will be open for canoe rentals. I had hoped for an end-of-season family excursion gliding up the Potomac River to gaze at autumn color, hawks and herons, and lichen-covered boulders reflected in the leaf-sprinkled water. However, it looks as if all will be rained out (or possibly snowed in) with the approach of Tropical Storm Sandy, which is already wreaking havoc further southeast. Let’s hope it’s short-lived.

Here is a poem for this bright and watery season.

Fletchers

Another year gone, leaving everywhere
its rich spiced residues: vines, leaves,

the uneaten fruits crumbling damply
in the shadows, unmattering back

from the particular island
of this summer, this NOW, that now is nowhere

except underfoot, moldering
in that black subterranean castle

of unobservable mysteries—roots and sealed seeds
and the wanderings of water. This

I try to remember when time’s measure
painfully chafes, for instance when autumn

flares out at the last, boisterous and like us longing
to stay—how everything lives, shifting

from one bright vision to another, forever
in these momentary pastures.

—Mary Oliver

CakeChocCurls2Eugenie

YCandleAunt Mary


A Merry Lass

Tuesday, October 9th, 2012

AutumnMerry

Here is a poem (author unknown) from our mealtime verse book, and I post it today in honor of the birthday of my cousin Dianne (which she shares with her twin Monica). Tuesday, October 2nd, marked the one-year anniversary of Dianne’s passing after a lengthy and painful struggle with two rare blood disorders, throughout which she remained, as always, the Merry Lass that her circle of family and friends knew so well and miss so much.

CakeRedRosesDianne

CakeChocCurls2Monica

Dragon-Baking

Saturday, September 29th, 2012

Today is the feast of Michaelmas, on which we acknowledge and resolve to transform our Inner Dragons, an ongoing and elusive undertaking that is refreshed by this annual reminder. And it helps to dress ourselves and our table in red, and for breakfast to dine upon freshly baked dragon bread with honey and cider and apples from the Saturday farmers market.

Here is the recipe I use for Dragon Bread. It’s a modification of “Arkansas Hot Rolls,” one I clipped from The Washington Post at the time of Bill Clinton’s first inauguration, a recipe to which we now refer as “Bill’s Buns.” (Now, there’s a fellow who has wrestled impressively with his inner dragons.) Next year I resolve to photograph and post the steps for shaping the dough. The one pictured below is about 18” wide, making enough to share with neighbors.

Dragon7366

Dragon Bread

3/4 cup butter
1 cup scalded milk
2 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup brown sugar
1-1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup cold water
2 T dry yeast
1/4 cup lukewarm water
3-1/2 cups unbleached white flour
3 cups whole-wheat flour
More flour as needed

Combine butter and scalded milk and stir until butter is melted. Combine beaten eggs, brown sugar and salt and beat in the cold water.

Soften yeast in the lukewarm water. Combine the three mixtures and then add HALF the flour. Stir well and let this sponge rise about 45 minutes. Then stir down and add the rest of the flour and knead well about ten minutes, adding small handfuls of flour if necessary if the dough is very sticky. (This varies depending upon kind of flour and humidity.) Place in a LARGE bowl, cover with a towel, and allow to rise for about 2 hours.

Then shape it into a dragon (see directions for this in September 2013)—or into anything you like!—and place it on a buttered baking sheet sprinkled with cornmeal, with plenty of room around it for a final rising. Bake in a preheated 350º oven for about 50 minutes total. BUT you must do this in stages, covering the crisping brown edges with aluminum foil starting at about 20 minutes, to prevent them from burning. Serve with butter and honey.

CakeStars Dad

Autumn Equinox

Saturday, September 22nd, 2012

Today is one of the turnings of the year, and between now and the beginning of winter, each day will begin a little later and end a little earlier, until, when the alarm clock goes off, we find ourselves groping for our bedroom slippers in darkness.

But there are some joys to be had during the days of shrinking sunlight: walks in the golden woods, candlelight, hot soup, bread fresh from the oven, and, of course, apples in every imaginable form. Just to look at one is a pleasure. And of course there is autumnal poetry, in which this poignant season abounds.

AppleMapleLeaf

To Autumn

O Autumn, laden with fruit, and stained
With the blood of the grape, pass not, but sit
Beneath my shady roof; there thou mayst rest,
And tune thy jolly voice to my fresh pipe,
And all the daughters of the year shall dance!
Sing now the lusty song of fruits and flowers.

‘The narrow bud opens her beauties to
The sun, and love runs in her thrilling veins;
Blossoms hang round the brows of Morning, and
Flourish down the bright cheek of modest Eve,
Till clust’ring Summer breaks forth into singing,
And feather’d clouds strew flowers round her head.

‘The spirits of the air live on the smells
Of fruit; and Joy, with pinions light, roves round
The gardens, or sits singing in the trees.’
Thus sang the jolly Autumn as he sat;
Then rose, girded himself, and o’er the bleak
Hills fled from our sight; but left his golden load.

—William Blake

Advent 2: Day in Autumn

Sunday, December 4th, 2011

The second Sunday of Advent falls on the birthday of Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926), and in celebration I post this seasonal poem in the original German, along with one of its numerous translations, and a painting. If you have a translation you prefer then please tell me about it.

For another Rilke poem, and a sketch, please see Holding up all this falling.

Acorn

Herbsttag

Herr: es ist Zeit. Der Sommer war sehr groß.
Leg deinen Schatten auf die Sonnenuhren,
und auf den Fluren laß die Winde los.
Befiel den letzten Früchten voll zu sein;
gib ihnen noch zwei südlichere Tage,
dränge sie zur Vollendung hin und jage
die letzte Süße in den schweren Wein.
Wer jetzt kein Haus hat, baut sich keines mehr.
Wer jetzt allein ist, wird Es lange bleiben,
wird wachen, lesen, lange Briefe schreiben
und wird in den Alleen hin und her
unruhig wandern, wenn die Blätter treiben.

—Rainer Maria Rilke (1902)

Day in Autumn

Lord: it is time. Great was the Summer’s feast.
Now lay upon the sun-dials your shadow
And on the meadows have the wind released.
Command the last of fruits to round their shapes;
Grant two more days of south for vines to carry,
To their perfection thrust them on, and harry
The final sweetness into the heavy grapes.
Who has not built his house will not start now
Who now is by himself will long be so,
Be wakeful, read, write lengthy letters, go
In vague disquiet pacing up and down
Denuded lanes, with leaves adrift below.

—Trans. Walter Arndt (1989)

Sisterhood of Squash

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

SquashCuke

It’s finally getting too cold to draw from nature outdoors, so we’re sketching from the pantry, and thus cut open a recent discovery: a Sunshine Squash. (If you like winter squash, you will love this super-sweet and tender variety.)

It was my daughter who noticed the squash’s interior division into thirds, and, more subtly, sixths, and who suggested we add our squash drawings to our cucumber drawing pages. So we did. It’s exciting to find, despite their apparent exterior differences, their interior commonalities. And together they make a lovely pair. There’s a life lesson for you.

CakeTomatoesGina


 

Obscure Thanksgiving Tales

Thursday, November 24th, 2011

MilesStandishAnd a Happy Thanksgiving to everyone.


 

Witch Kind

Saturday, November 19th, 2011

It’s time for another visit from Witch Kind. (Click twice for full size.)

WitchKind