Many of my friends in the upper 48 are enjoying a taste of autumn, or at least chilly, windy, rainy weather. We've had some rain, but our overall pattern is still hot, humid, breezeless--ugh.
This time of year, I always find myself longing for autumn: the thrill of needing a sweater, the first leaves turning, the chance to make something with pumpkin (but not a beverage--I think pumpkin makes drinks taste metallic), a trip to an orchard, on and on I could go.
This time of year, my thoughts turn to John Keats. His poem, "To Autumn," is one of the most perfect autumn poems ever. Go here to read it.
For those of you looking for a teaching/writing idea, here are some. You could have students write about the autumnal elements that Keats includes and the figurative language that he uses. You could have students write about the autumnal elements that Keats leaves out. You could have them research what Autumn would have been like as Keats experienced it. You could show the movie Bright Star and have them compare the experience of Autumn as a visual experience and the experience of Autumn as a reading experience. You could have students write their own poems and require that they avoid all overused autumnal elements: can they write an autumnal poem with no hay rides, no pumpkins, no colored leaves?
Here's a poem that I wrote years ago, after teaching the Keats poem and yearning for a more autumnal October:
Longing for a Keatsian Autumn
What I wouldn’t give for a season of mists and mellow fruitfulness.
Instead we suffer fierce heat and a flowering
fecundity that threatens to pull our thatch-eves down.
West winds bring us nothing but a pall
of heavy humidity, a harvest of hurricanes.
I want to sing songs of other seasons
than this sweat soaked summer.
I want to be wooed by weather unSouthern.
I tire of this moist mouthed peninsula,
seasonless, cursed landscape of mangroves and swamp grass
that mocks our efforts to pretend that the Southernmost
tip of America has seasons other than warm and hot.
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