THIS BLOG IS NO LONGER OPERATIONAL. PLEASE ENJOY WHAT IS HERE, AND DO LEAVE A COMMENT IF YOU WISH. NORTH CAROLINA'S NEW POET LAUREATE IS CATHY SMITH BOWERS. SHE WILL SOON HAVE HER OWN WEBSITE THROUGH THE NORTH CAROLINA ARTS COUNCIL SITE. I WILL BE SHIFTING MY ATTENTION TO HERE, WHERE I AM, (SEE SIDEBAR)USING IT TO DRAW ATTENTION TO WRITERS WHOSE WORK DESERVES ATTENTION. I INVITE YOU TO VISIT ME THERE. For a video of the installation ceremony, please go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0xAk6fOzaNE.
Go to http://www.yourdailypoem.com/, managed with finesse by Jayne Jaudon Ferrer, who says, "Our intent is to make visitors to Your Daily Poem aware of the joy and diversity of poetry."
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Autumn in Budapest
(Autumn fire in the leaves as we walk through the Pest side of the Danube on our first morning in Budapest.)
Being in Europe during October brought back my memories of reading the German poet Rainer Maria Rilke when I was in College, in particular his early work from the Book of Pictures. Here is his poem "Herbst." (Autumn)
Rainer Maria Rilke
Die Blätter fallen, fallen wie von weit, als welkten in den Himmeln ferne Gärten; sie fallen mit verneinender Gebärde.
Und in den Nächten fällt die schwere Erde aus allen Sternen in die Einsamkeit.
Wir alle fallen. Diese Hand da fällt. Und sieh die andre an: es ist in allen.
Und doch ist Einer, welcher dieses Fallen unendlich sanft in seinen Händen hält.
trans. Bertram Kottmann
The leaves are falling, falling as from far, as if distant gardens withered in the skies; they are falling with a denying gesture.
And in the nights the heavy earth falls from all the stars into solitude.
All of us fall. This hand here falls. And look at the other: it is in all.
And yet there is one, who holds this falling immensely gently in his hands.
(Thanks to John C. Holcome's website,http://www.textetc.com/workshop/wt-rilke-1.html)
A lofty summer! Lord, it's time to lay encroaching shadows on the sundials now and let in meadowlands the winds have sway.
Command the fruits to fullness and consign another two more days of southern heat to bring them to perfection and secrete the last of sweetness in the bodied wine.
He who has no house will not rebuild, and he who is alone will long stay so, and wake to read, write endlessly, and go up and down through avenues now filled with leaves and restlessness, blown to and fro.
Herr: es ist Zeit. Der Sommer war sehr groß. Leg deinen Schatten auf die Sonnenuhren, und auf den Fluren laß die Winde los.
Befiel den letzten Früchten voll zu sein; gib ihnen noch zwei südlichere Tage, dränge sie zur Vollendung hin und jage die letzte Süße in den schweren Wein.
Wer jetzt kein Haus hat, baut sich keines mehr. Wer jetzt allein ist, wird Es lange bleiben, wird wachen, lesen, lange Briefe schreiben und wird in den Alleen hin und her unruhig wandern, wenn die Blätter treiben.
(Trees near the Citadella, on the hill overlooking the city, where we climbed to see the famous statue of the woman holding the palm wreath, erected after WWII. )
Autumn has stirred my imagination as no other season does. Here is my poem "Alma" from WILDWOOD FLOWER.
Two dead leaves on the table and ice
floats on milk like the ashes of leaves. Oak twigs kindle and fire leaps like a prayer, “Give us
breath.” When I open the door and breathe deeply the cold air inflames me. The fire seizes log after log. In the garden my husband burns dead stalks of squash and potatoes. I sweep my dust into the coals and our smoke mingles over the orchard.
In autumn I sweep the floor gladly. I gather the crumbs from the cupboard, and the rinds of the apples. When my dustbin grows heavy, I give what it holds to the fire and the fire sings its song:
raise your dead from the earth, make a fire of their bones, set them free
to be sky, to be nothing at all.
(October in the Blue Ridge Mountains)
If you have a favorite autumn poem, why not share it with us on this blog. Or write your own!
I've lived in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina since 1968, though I'm a native of SW Georgia. My paternal grandmother was born in the Blue Ridge, and I grew up wanting to live here. Where I am.
I've published five collections of poetry, the most recent 4 being with LSU Press, and have published poetry in magazines ranging from The Atlantic Monthly to Appalachian Heritage. But I also hike, bang pots and pans around in my kitchen, and love several dogs who leave fur all over my carpets. I write poetry because it's my way of singing back to the world both within and without.