In this installment, Michelle Boisseau reads “To Autumn” by John Keats. Boisseau was educated at Ohio University (B.A., M.A.) and the University of Houston (Ph.D.). Her books of poetry include Trembling Air (University of Arkansas Press, 2003); Understory, winner of the Morse Prize (Northeastern University Press, 1996);and No Private Life (Vanderbilt, 1990). She is also author of the popular text Writing Poems (Longman), in its 6th edition. Her poems have appeared in The Yale Review, Threepenny Review, The Gettysburg Review, The Southern Review, Shenandoah, Poetry, and Ploughshares. Her work has received a National Endowment for the Arts poetry fellowship and awards from the Poetry Society of America. She is a professor of English at the University of Missouri-Kansas City where she also is associate editor of BkMk Press and the coordinator of the Creative Writing program.
John Keats, "To Autumn"
Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss'd cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o’er-brimm’d their clammy cells.
Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reap’d furrow sound asleep,
Drows’d with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers:
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
Steady thy laden head across a brook;
Or by a cyder-press, with patient look,
Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours.
Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,—
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
And touch the stubble plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
Among the river sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
The red-breast whistles from a garden-croft;
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.