Friday, October 22, 2010

Robert Frost: October

Since this is October, it seems apt to post this poem by Robert Frost.


O hushed October morning mild,
Thy leaves have ripened to the fall;
Tomorrow's wind, if it be wild,
Should waste them all.
The crows above the forest call;
Tomorrow they may form and go.
O hushed October morning mild,
Begin the hours of this day slow.
Make the day seem to us less brief.
Hearts not averse to being beguiled,
Beguile us in the way you know.
Release one leaf at break of day;
At noon release another leaf;
One from our trees, one far away.
Retard the sun with gentle mist;
Enchant the land with amethyst.
Slow, slow!
For the grapes' sake, if they were all,
Whose leaves already are burnt with frost,
Whose clustered fruit must else be lost--
For the grapes' sake along the wall.

Frankly, I don't think that "October" is one of his best poems. But, it does have an interesting theme. We are used to hearing about summer as the slow, lazy time of the year. In this poem the poet asks that autumn also be slow, if only for the grapes' sake. I find that strange for it would seem that lowering the temperature would be important if the exposed grapes were to be saved. On the other hand, perhaps the heat is necessary, and the longer the grapes are bathed in the heat, the better they'll be. Knowing little of grapes, I can only guess.

Maybe there's another meaning to the last part of the poem, to the poet's plea for a long slow autumn. If it's autumn now, winter, the season of death, must be close behind. Possibly the poet wants time to slow in order to stave off winter, that there's no need to rush into winter.

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