While some poets sing of the splendors of spring, for me autumn has always been the season for poetry. As first grade began, our teacher had us learn to write by copying these lines from the chalkboard:
Down, down, yellow and brown.
Leaves are falling all over the town.
My father liked to quote Helen Hunt Jackson’s poem “October’s Bright Blue Weather,” although he misremembered it as beginning with James Whitcomb Riley’s famous opening line, “When the frost is on the punkin.” My own childhood favorite poem for October was Harry Behn’s wonderful Halloween poem with its haunting beginning:
Tonight is the night
When dead leaves fly
Like witches on switches
Across the sky . . .
So in the spirit of this month’s theme, and because I can never resist the chance to write a poem, here is my own contribution to verse in honor of the October sky. (PS. I live in Boulder, Colorado, and we do start to get snow this month. In fact, it snowed last night!)
A porcelain bowl of brilliant blue
Etched with leaves of every hue.
The air so crisp and sharp and bright
Like an apple’s tangy bite.
But sometimes clouds hang dark and low
Swollen with unfallen snow.
Dark comes early. Stars blink on:
The Harp, the Eagle, and the Swan.
And look! Upon her trusty broom
A witch soars past the harvest moon.