A painting and a poem for the autumn equinox.
This is the way that autumn came to the trees:
it stripped them down to the skin,
left their ebony bodies naked.
It shook out their hearts, the yellow leaves,
scattered them over the ground.
Anyone could trample them out of shape
undisturbed by a single moan of protest.
The birds that herald dreams
were exiled from their song,
each voice torn out of its throat.
They dropped into the dust
even before the hunter strung his bow.
Oh, God of May have mercy.
Bless these withered bodies
with the passion of your resurrection;
make their dead veins flow with blood again.
Give some tree the gift of green again.
Let one bird sing.
—Faiz Ahmed Faiz 1911-1984
A painting, and a poem by Emily Dickinson. Happy Autumn Equinox, everyone.
The morns are meeker than they were,
The nuts are getting brown;
The berry’s cheek is plumper,
The rose is out of town.
The maple wears a gayer scarf,
The field a scarlet gown.
Lest I should be old-fashioned,
I’ll put a trinket on.
Excursion to the grounds of Glenstone on a temptingly mild December day. Must return in BAD weather to focus on the galleries.
For the first day of autumn, this sonnet evoking the season’s beauty and melancholy.
That time of year thou mayst in me behold
When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang
Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,
Bare ruin’d choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.
In me thou see’st the twilight of such day
As after sunset fadeth in the west,
Which by and by black night doth take away,
Death’s second self, that seals up all in rest.
In me thou see’st the glowing of such fire
That on the ashes of his youth doth lie,
As the death-bed whereon it must expire,
Consum’d with that which it was nourish’d by.
This thou perceiv’st, which makes thy love more strong,
To love that well which thou must leave ere long.
Although it stills feels as hot and muggy as midsummer here in Washington, DC, it is actually the first day of autumn in the northern hemisphere. So, a painting and a poem in celebration. The leaves are changing color; we await those crisp cool blue-sky days. And wait… Happy Autumn, everyone.
The Maple with its tassell flowers of green
That turns to red, a stag horn shapèd seed
Just spreading out its scallopped leaves is seen,
Of yellowish hue yet beautifully green.
Bark ribb’d like corderoy in seamy screed
That farther up the stem is smoother seen,
Where the white hemlock with white umbel flowers
Up each spread stoven to the branches towers
And mossy round the stoven spread dark green
And blotched leaved orchis and the blue-bell flowers—
Thickly they grow and neath the leaves are seen.
I love to see them gemm’d with morning hours.
I love the lone green places where they be
And the sweet clothing of the Maple tree.
—John Clare 1793-1864
Below is a link for a set of two calendars, made for those who asked about obtaining one of each, the “grown-up” still-life calendar, and the “children’s” Little Pudding calendar. However, several actual grown-ups have expressed a desire to live in Little Pudding. It’s probably a post-election wish for an environment of diverse creatures who live in relative harmony without eating each other.
Set of two calendars, $38
This year I’ve created a second, entirely different calendar in addition to the more “grown-up” still-life calendar. It features the inhabitants of the village of Little Pudding, about whom I’ve been inventing stories since my daughter was in kindergarten.
Unless you prefer to be surprised, you can scroll down to see the twelve scenes of village life featured within. (Click twice to see the image larger.) The calendar is 8-1/2” x 11” and printed on sturdy satin stock, substantial enough so the images can be saved as prints.
A single calendar is $20; a set of two is $36. Shipping is 3-day Priority Mail, domestic US.
If you are in my area, you can obtain a calendar from me directly without shipping—just let me know.
Set of two calendars:
For those who do not want to be surprised on the first of each month, here are the twelve paintings featured on the 2017 calendar shown in my post yesterday.
John Fitzgerald Kennedy
Summer officially came to an end at 10:21 Eastern Daylight Time this morning. Welcome Autumn with a poem by William Wordsworth.
I’ve watched you now a full half-hour,
Self-poised upon that yellow flower;
And, little Butterfly! indeed
I know not if you sleep or feed.
How motionless!—not frozen seas
More motionless! and then
What joy awaits you, when the breeze
Hath found you out among the trees,
And calls you forth again !
This plot of orchard-ground is ours;
My trees they are, my Sister’s flowers;
Here rest your wing when they are weary;
Here lodge as in a sanctuary!
Come often to us, fear no wrong;
Sit near us on the bough!
We’ll talk of sunshine and of song,
And summer days, when we were young;
Sweet childish days, that were as long
As twenty days are now.
The lovely village of St. Cyprien-Dordogne is where we were living last Thanksgiving, celebrating quietly and far from home. This year, back in our native land, and happy and thankful for the beloved company of family and old friends, we’re also grateful for those we came to know in our adopted land and anxious about the recent attacks on this spirited, creative, humorous and resilient people. I look forward to a day (probably centuries beyond my lifetime) when we might celebrate in harmony a universal Thanksgiving in appreciation for our beautiful world and everyone in it.
Below, a poem for this day.
Not because of victories
but for the common sunshine,
the largess of the spring.
Not for victory
but for the day’s work done
as well as I was able;
not for a seat upon the dais
but at the common table.