Welcome to the pub, all. Hedgewitch (Joy Ann Jones) here, stirring up a cauldron of mulled cider to welcome in October. Pull up a bar stool or sit on a pile of crisp autumn leaves (I’ll sweep them up later) and enjoy that distinctive smell of apples and cinnamon and the brown earthiness of nutmeg, while we get together tonight to read and share our own harvest of words.
October is my favorite month, though it didn’t used to be. When I lived up north, April seemed better, with its budding leaves and melted snow, and October, grey, cold, and frowning in on summer’s heels, seemed more like a Cassandra foretelling all the dreary miseries of winter to come. Then I moved to the dust bowl, and into a climate of too-often blistering heat and drought, where there’s no such thing here as a weekly renewing summer thunderstorm, and the land parches from May to September. Now when October sticks her head around the corner, I know that the fall rains come with her, giving a profound relief from the searing sun as well as autumn’s promise of rest for the tired burned land in a mild (by Northern standards) winter fallow time.
October is high on my list for other reasons–it has my favorite holiday, Halloween, and also begins the seasonal harvest theme that finishes here in the US with our Thanksgiving. Also, it’s undoubtedly one of the most fruitful months to write about. To list all the poems that treat the season as fodder for every imaginable poetic twist would take up more screens than any of us could wade through, but I would like to mention a few of my own personal favorite autumn poems.
Of course I have to start with one of my favorite authors, and one of the first poems where I ever felt that certain thrill of connection that as readers and writers we all live for, Ulalume by Edgar Allen Poe. Decades later, I can still recite the poem from memory, with its quintessential somber feel of autumn:
The skies they were ashen and sober;
The leaves they were crispéd and sere—
The leaves they were withering and sere;
It was night in the lonesome October
Of my most immemorial year…
Another early favorite is the supremely lyrical Poem in October, by Dylan Thomas, which for copyright reasons I only link and do not quote. I remember the year I first read this I was about fifteen, and confounded my family by asking for a book for Christmas. “That’s all you want?” my mother said incredulously, “A poetry book??” But for Christmas that year I got The Collected Poems of Dylan Thomas, and I still have it, ancient and worn with the title illegible, on my poetry shelf.
I also love the W.S. Merwin poem To the Light of September, and October, by Robert Frost, two very different examples of the inspiration this season carries. Everyone probably has their own favorites as well that they return to each fall to mark the passing of another summer, to draw a deep breath before winter hits.
One final word about October: Here in the US, we are having a presidential election in about a month. October is the deadline in many states for voter registration. I’d like to urge everyone who can to register and to vote, and to participate in the democratic process, whatever your political views.
Alright then, we’ve let our minds stray across October’s rich fields, and now it’s time to bring them back to this night of reading and sharing our own words. Though I’ve written about October as a subject, there is no assigned prompt or topic on the pub’s Open Link Night–it is open for you to link any poem, old or new, on any topic, that you wish to share with us. So let’s sip our cider, or alternate grog of choice, and get down to the night’s harvest.
If you’re new to the pub, here’s how it all works:
- Link in the poem you’d like to share–old or new, on any topic, (1 per blog, please)– by clicking on the Mr.Linky button just below.
- This opens a new screen where you’ll enter your information, and where you also choose links to read. Once you have pasted your poem’s blog url and entered your name, simply click submit.
- Don’t forget to let your readers know where you’re linking up and encourage them to participate by including a link to dVerse in your blog post.
- Visit as many other poems as you like, commenting as you see fit. Remember that this is how we connect with those who can support and encourage us, and for whom we provide the same vital benefits.
- Spread the word. Feel free to tweet and share on the social media of your choice.
- Finally, enjoy! Remember, we are here for each other. Thanks to all of you, and enjoy tonight’s Open Link poetry-thon.