Greetings from Seattle

Monday, October 19, 2015

A Moment for Poetry

 We all know that Vermont is famous for its fall foliage. 

When we were visiting there a few years ago, I got to tramp around the farm that once belonged to Robert Frost. It was in the spring, not the fall, but I got to see his birches and his stone walls and the woods on the edge of the fields.  While I was in Vermont I found a little book called Robert Frost: The People, Places, and Stories Behind His New England Poetry. Since then this little book has lived on my bedside table.  While I have still not read it through, I have challenged myself to stop, while dusting on housework days, and take a moment for some poetry. 

Today I picked up the book, ruffled the pages, and my fingers stopped on an index page where the title "October" popped out at me.  I sat on the edge of the bed, turned to the poem, and read:

          O HUSHED October morning mild,
          Thy leaves have ripened to the fall;
          To-morrow's wind , if it be wild, 
          Should waste them all.
          The crows above the forest call;
          To-morrow they may form and go.
          O hushed October morning mild. 
          Begin the hours of this day slow,
          Make the day to us less brief.
          Hearts not averse to being beguiled,
          Beguile us in the way you know;
          Release one leaf at break of day;
          At noon release another leaf;
          One from our trees, one far away;
          Retard the sun with gentle mist;
          Enchant the land with amethyst.
          Slow, slow!
          For grapes' sake, if they were all,
          Whose leaves already are burnt to frost,
          Whose clustered fruit must else be lost -
          For grapes' sake along the wall. 

Having read this poem, I sighed, thinking of the walk in the mist we had already taken this morning, and knowing that my camera and I would have to go back out into the yard, to those leaves that are just beginning to fall. Oh, I hope they will be slow. 

 But before I left that little book, I took the time to read about the poem.  Interviewed on what would turn out to be his last public reading, Frost said he was aware that he was giving this poem a "prayer sound", and that he used it as an example of his life-long determination to assign  a place "apart" to poetry. Poetry, he said, was something "in itself", above the "contentions" of politics and religion.  
 And so I share with you a moment for poetry.

There will be plenty of contentiousness in the news this week, as candidates bicker, and Hillary finally testifies before the Benghazi committee. Don't get me wrong.  I will be watching and listening and reading it all.  I am a political animal. 

But for a moment, I can sigh, and say "Go slow, lovely October". 
And as for Vermont? Well, we are blessed with a pretty good show here in the Pacific Northwest too.  


  1. Such a lovely contemplative post, Linda. I love the line "for grape's sake" he uses in the poem, and your pictures show a lovely Pacific Northwest autumn beauty. I am enriched and your pictures, oh! :-)

  2. You Fall looks like it has just begun! Enjoy:)

  3. I always liked Robert frost. The poem conveys the pleasant mellow mood of fall.

  4. Great post! Beautiful poetry and images. I'm with you and Frost, go slowly autumn. Winter can speed by at breakneck speed but sweet mellow autumn can linger.

  5. Beautiful poem and lovely images of Autumn, the post certainly summed up the very essence of the season.

  6. And we're blessed with a good autumn show here in Maine. One of my favorite Frost poems is "Nothing Gold Can Stay." It's appropriate with your post. I can recite it from memory: Nature's first green is gold/Her hardest hue to hold./Her early leaf's a flower/But only so an hour./Then leaf subsides to leaf,/So Eden sank to grief/So dawn goes down to day/Nothing gold can stay.

  7. Thank you for this reminder of Robert Frost, the first poet I got to know as a child. This whole post feels like a tribute to autumn and all its glories, your word as lovely as his.

  8. You married his words quite well with your pictures. He was an amazing talent and one of the few poets I read.

  9. I like the poem, very much. It reminded me of my Dad. He enjoyed poetry and he loved nature and being outside.

  10. The Midwest is finally showing its colors now and it is gorgeous!


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