Autumn and Keats. A Pictorial Conspiracy.

When I first studied Keats’ Ode to Autumn as a 17-year-old student, I was naive, optimistic and ignorant, full of expectation and youthful determination. The possibilities of life stretched out endlessly before me. I was in the Spring of my life: this metaphor, now considered clichéd, was not lost on me at the time, but then again, how could I have fully understood the real depth of this Keatsian analogy, not having travelled very far through the successive seasons of life. My literature teacher laid strong foundations for future and deeper understandings. Good literature requires frequent visitations.

‘To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core
.’

Heirloom apple varieties, maturing at different times. Not so prolific but each one offering unique taste and texture. Not perfect, and never supermarket worthy. Some to stew: others to slice to go with a sharp cheddar or soft cheese.

I’m now in the Autumn of my life and am delighted to be here: I wouldn’t want to be 18, or 38 or 55 still. Those times were good: each season brought blessings and joys, angst and worry. Each season does. I just happen to love Autumn more and cling to whatever this season brings, knowing that my winter is not so far away.

‘Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun.’
Symbol of female sexuality. Ripe figs are autumn’s bounty. Spring and Summer played a part with rain then sun. Maturity comes in Autumn.

I visit the vegetable garden now and am rewarded with the products of our particular Summer: volatile and untrustworthy, youthful and full of energy, promises are made and broken. Patience is important when dealing with summer. Autumn is long and slow, with cool beginnings, windless warm days and soft pink, crimson, turning to tangerine sunsets. The ‘conspiracy’ is now over: we are loaded and blessed with fruits and vegetables and I’m not in a hurry to tamper with the season or hurry it along.

Chillies mature slowly, abundance comes in Autumn

Hiding along walkways, slow maturing pumpkins need another two lazy months before they surrender their sweetness and hard flesh for storing. Meanwhile, the zucchini are on display again, more loud and showy than the petite summer offerings: new flowers, bees and prolific fruits appear daily. Large seed filled zeppelins appear far too quickly now.

‘To swell the gourd’

Only in Autumn do the Pumpkins emerge. They don’t enjoy the harshness of young summer.

There could be a part two to my Keatsian story: to think that we have only just begun our gentle waltz through Autumn.

Just picked, a bowl of Zinfandel grapes ripen further then dry to sweet nuggets.

My previous Keatsian posts can be viewed here and the full verse can be found here.

23 thoughts on “Autumn and Keats. A Pictorial Conspiracy.”

    1. Thanks Sir Peter of the north. Figs are like that- hence the old expression, ‘ I couldn’t give a fig’, said with appropriate hand gestures. I am finding them especially delizioso this season.

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  1. Victoria’s autumn is something to celebrate ( as is this stage of our lives.) Maturity brings an appreciation of life itself and the pleasures of poetry, the seasons and their unique bounty. Beautiful post Francesca

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  2. You’ve expressed most beautifully and similarly some of my recent thoughts around Autumn and age. I enjoy each summer and enjoy my years as they pass but as they do I feel I’m becoming more my Self. I think it’s a fair exchange, youthful physical resilence got me through the years when emotional resilience was tested, now lessening angst [and increasingly, selectively, not giving a rat’s a…] is the antidote to deteriorating physical resilience ♡

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    1. Ah yes Dale, spot on. I am happy to make this trade too, despite the increase in aching parts and a crinkly face that needs a good iron. I also can happy say I no longer gives a rat’s arse about many things and am far more confident in expressing my views.

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  3. The autumn of our lives? My favourite season is autumn as it hails in winter just as when I worked, my favourite day was Friday. I was always too timid to claim Saturday or Sunday as my favourite day as I always had a sense of foreboding – soon it would be Monday. I sure am weird.

    As you can guess from the above, I love winter. I am not so sure I am going to love the winter of my life though. Already I have aches and pains and a couple of Maus’ and my siblings are not faring the best.

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    1. I know, the Autumn of our lives prepares us for the winter. Aches pains and other ailments. I’m not so fond of winter, the season, and I suspect in the metaphorically speaking.

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  4. Such voluptuous language Francesca, I love it. Alack and alas our veggie patch has withered – too much sun and too little rain does not voluptuous make. In fact it’s more rat’s arse – I’d forgotten that term and that makes me smile too:)

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    1. Love that term too Jan. Ratty and rat’s arse come in handy when things are not voluptuous. Our garden is also looking rather sad too, with not much rain in the last month, but the vegies are thriving.

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  5. What a gorgeous post Francesca! Love seeing all your beautiful produce .. and your words, magic! Yes our summer wasn’t great either, but I planted a couple of beds late and benefited from this. My chillies are coming along nicely too .. just love the pic of the grapes 😃

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