Tuesday, 23 September 2014

a painting, a song and a poem for autumn

Autumn Effect at Argenteuil by Claude Monet.

Today we celebrate the autumn equinox. The word 'equinox' is derived from the Latin aequus (equal) and nox (night), because around the equinox, night and day are of equal length. The Druids call this celebration Meán Fómhair and honour the the Green Man, the God of the Forest. Other Pagans will celebrate the festival of Mabon, which marks the decline of nature and the slow coming of winter. Summer is waning, the autumnal winds have arrived...

Autumn is my favourite season. Soup, jumpers, crisp mornings. Every September I tend to listen to the above, one of my favourite songs by Patrick Wolf, on repeat as the month comes to its chilly close. Also, here is a beautiful poem from Ted Hughes:

The first sorrow of autumn
Is the slow goodbye
Of the garden who stands so long in the evening-
A brown poppy head,
The stalk of a lily,
And still cannot go.

The second sorrow
Is the empty feet
Of a pheasant who hangs from a hook with his brothers.
The woodland of gold
Is folded in feathers
With its head in a bag.

And the third sorrow
Is the slow goodbye
Of the sun who has gathered the birds and who gathers
The minutes of evening,
The golden and holy
Ground of the picture.

The fourth sorrow
Is the pond gone black
Ruined and sunken the city of water-
The beetle's palace,
The catacombs
Of the dragonfly.

And the fifth sorrow
Is the slow goodbye
Of the woodland that quietly breaks up its camp.
One day it's gone.
It has only left litter-
Firewood, tentpoles.

And the sixth sorrow
Is the fox's sorrow
The joy of the huntsman, the joy of the hounds,
The hooves that pound
Till earth closes her ear
To the fox's prayer.

And the seventh sorrow
Is the slow goodbye
Of the face with its wrinkles that looks through the window
As the year packs up
Like a tatty fairground
That came for the children.

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