Each Monday morning, my former colleague Eric Nelson up the road at Georgia Southern University posts a poem on the departmental listserv. I love today’s. It feels a little “The Road Not Taken”-ish but with a twist of its own.
What If This Road
— by Sheenagh Pugh
What if this road, that has held no surprises
these many years, decided not to go
home after all; what if it could turn
left or right with no more ado
than a kite-tail? What if its tarry skin
were like a long, supple bolt of cloth,
that is shaken and rolled out, and takes
a new shape from the contours beneath?
And if it chose to lay itself down
in a new way; around a blind corner,
across hills you must climb without knowing
what’s on the other side; who would not hanker
to be going, at all risks? Who wants to know
a story’s end, or where a road will go?
— from What If This Roadand Other Poems (Gwasg Carreg Gwalch, 2003)
Fall is most definitely my favorite season of the year. Even with its touch of “summer’s over” melancholy, autumn slowly paints the world with warmly joyful colors, smells and scenes. The season makes me feel energized and ready to start anew (maybe partly because I’m an educator and connect fall to the new school year).
Autumn wants to make us pause and smile.
Here’s a terrific poem, by late 19th century poet Paul Laurence Dunbar, which shows fall’s happy face. Read it out loud to feel, as well as see and hear, the words.
It’s all a farce,—these tales they tell About the breezes sighing, And moans astir o’er field and dell, Because the year is dying.
Such principles are most absurd,— I care not who first taught ‘em; There’s nothing known to beast or bird To make a solemn autumn.
In solemn times, when grief holds sway With countenance distressing, You’ll note the more of black and gray Will then be used in dressing.
Now purple tints are all around; The sky is blue and mellow; And e’en the grasses turn the ground From modest green to yellow.
The seed burs all with laughter crack On featherweed and jimson; And leaves that should be dressed in black Are all decked out in crimson.
A butterfly goes winging by; A singing bird comes after; And Nature, all from earth to sky, Is bubbling o’er with laughter.
The ripples wimple on the rills, Like sparkling little lasses; The sunlight runs along the hills, And laughs among the grasses.
The earth is just so full of fun It really can’t contain it; And streams of mirth so freely run The heavens seem to rain it.
Don’t talk to me of solemn days In autumn’s time of splendor, Because the sun shows fewer rays, And these grow slant and slender.
Why, it’s the climax of the year,— The highest time of living!— Till naturally its bursting cheer Just melts into thanksgiving.
Each Monday morning up at my old hunting ground, Georgia Southern University, my buddy and former Writing and Linguistics Department colleague Eric Nelson shares a poem on the W & L listserv. Yesterday’s poem was so joyful and encouraging, I thought I would share it with you, Kind Blog Readers. It’s called “Blessings”:
Some days I find myself
putting my foot in
the same stream twice;
leading a horse to water
and making him drink.
I have a clue.
I can see the forest
for the trees.
All around me people
are making silk purses
out of sows’ ears,
getting blood from turnips,
building Rome in a day.
There’s a business
like show business.
There’s something new
under the sun.
Some days misery
no longer loves company;
it puts itself out of its.
There’s rest for the weary.
There’s turning back.
There are guarantees.
I can be serious.
I can mean that.
You can quite
put your finger on it.
Some days I know
I am long for this world.
I can go home again.
And when I go
take it with me.
—Ron Wallace from Long for This World (U of Pitt Press, 2006)