Therefore all seasons shall be sweet to thee,
Whether summer clothe the general earth
With greeness, or the redbreast sit and sing
Betwixt the tufts of snow on the bare branch
Of mossy apple-tree, while the nigh thatch
Smokes in the sun-thaw; whether the eave-drops fall
Heard only in the trances of the blast,
Or if the secret ministry of frost
Shall hang them up in silent icicles,
Quietly shining to the quiet Moon.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

The Last of Autumn


Come, bleak November, in thy wildness come:

Thy mornings clothed in rime, thy evenings chill;

E’en these have power to tempt me from my home,

E’en these have beauty to delight me still.

Though Nature lingers in her mourning weeds,

And wails the dying year in gusty blast,

Still added beauty to the last proceeds,

And wildness triumphs when her bloom is past.

Though long grass all the day is drench’d in dew,

And splashy pathways lead me o’er the greens;

Though naked fields hang lonely on the view,

Long lost to harvest and its busy scenes;

Yet in the distance shines the painted bough,

Leaves changed to every colour ere they die,

And through the valley rivers widen now,

Once little brooks which summer dribbled dry.

This is an extract from a lovely poem by John Clare who wrote a great deal of exquisite nature poetry filled with wonderful descriptions of the pastoral scenes that he knew and loved so well. I started doing extracts from his Shepherd's Calendat earlier this year then was overtaken by life and only managed to do May and June. Over the winter months I'll try and do some more along with other snippets of his poetry.


Bovey Belle said...

What a lovely poem, and equally lovely photos to go with it too. Is that where you walk BB?

Rowan said...

Yes, although it isn't all the same place, a couple of the photos are from Eccleshall Woods, one from Blackamoor and one from the top of the Limb valley near Ringinglow.

PG said...

John Clare is one of the few poets I enjoy, even though I have none of his work on my bookshelf - so I have enjoyed this very much, thank you!

Thimbleanna said...

Beautiful pictures Rowan -- not to mention the poetry!

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Lovely photos and post. I didn't know John Clare's poetry until you mentioned him earlier.

I was just wondering if those were clumps of mistletoe in top (oak?) photo?

Wanda said...

I remember your extracts from his Shepherd's Calendat Rowan...I started following just before that...I loved the paintings that accompanied the posts...just as I love the photos where you walk.

Rowan said...

Scribe, I only wish it was mistletoe, it would be wonderful to have a free supply growing locally.It's a rare plant in most areas of the UK but grows well in Herefordshire, Gloucestershire, Worcestershire and Somerset where ther are lots of apple orchards. The tree in the photo is a silver birch and those are 'witches brooms' growing on it caused by a parasitic fungus.

Rosie said...

Lovely poem and super photos to illustrate it:)

Annie said...

Such beautiful words to apply to my favorite month of November. The rushing creek must have had a powerful sound. It looks very determined as it winds it's way through the trees.

Morning's Minion said...

The poem and the photos are so well married. I wasn't familiar with the words but they evoked mind pictures so vividly, that I could smell the tannin of oak leaves and feel the damp chill of a walk through woods and meadows during November. The sunlight falls so differently at this time of year.

Poppy Cottage said...

What a lovely post. Thank you for your lovely comments about my son.

Hope you have a lovely week.


Janean said...

lovely photos!

Diane said...

I love when you teach me poetry. I also loved your previous post about Samhain - I learned soething new. I love the idea of lighting the candles for loved ones who are no longer with us. Something I will adopt for our family. xx

~Sheila~ said...

Lovely words to accompany your photographs Rowan.
We are enjoying an Indian Summer and had a lovely walk yesterday with our daughter's dog. (we are dog sitting)
If I were a dog I think this would be my favourite time of year, there are so many lovely earthy scents.

Anonymous said...

Hello Rowan,
I like especially the line saying "And wildness triumphs when her bloom is past", it sounds encouraging to me. If one compares seasons of nature and periods of humans' life, isn't it great to realize that in autumn, when all the bloom is past, something is still triumphing? :-)

Yarrow said...

That poem so beautifully compliments your lovely photos :)

Anonymous said...

I do love John Clare, and hope you do find the time to quote from the Shepherd's Calendar. Have you seen the lino cuts (and other media) that Carry Akroyd does? Here is her webpage:

Rowan said...

Spacious Days - thank you for the details of Carrie Ackroyd's website. I have The Wood Is Sweet with her illustrations. I like them very much, woodcuts are one of my favourite types of illustration.

Elizabeth Rhiannon said...

A little late in commenting (I say sheepishly)...but your pics are lovely and the poem accompanies it perfectly. Interesting how you are saying good-bye to your autumn and ours is just beginning to go into full-swing!

Janet said...

Your beautiful photos are a perfect compliment to the poetry.

thesnailgarden said...

Beautifully matched words and photos. Best wishes Pj x

Derrick said...

Hello Rowan,

Loved this extract and look forward to seeing more of Clare's work.

Julie said...


I love this poem and your photos to go along with it. I have come to appreciate November in recent years. At least those ones, like this year, with no snow. The colors - though subtle - are there if one looks for them.