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-eaves run;
To bend with apples the mossed 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-brimmed their clammy cell.
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-reaped furrow sound asleep,
Drowsed 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 cider-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 redbreast whistles from a garden-croft,
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.
Short Poem Analysis
"Ode to Autumn" by John Keats is a celebrated poem that vividly captures the essence and beauty of the autumn season. Through its rich and descriptive language, the poem immerses the reader in the sights, sounds, and sensations of autumn, while also exploring deeper themes of change, time, and the cyclical nature of life.
The poem begins with an evocation of autumn as a time of abundance and ripeness, symbolized by the "maturing sun" and the "clammy cells" of the beehive. Keats uses sensory imagery to paint a vivid picture of the season, invoking the senses of taste, touch, and sound.
As the poem progresses, Keats personifies autumn, addressing it as if it were a person. He describes autumn as a "goddess," an approach that elevates the season to a divine status, emphasizing its importance and beauty.
Throughout the poem, Keats employs vivid and sensory language to describe the sights and sounds of autumn, from the "moss'd cottage-trees" to the "full-grown lambs." This attention to detail enhances the reader's immersion in the season.
The poem also explores themes of transience and the passage of time. Keats acknowledges that autumn is a season of decline and change, as the fruits and flowers reach maturity before eventually withering and fading away. This theme of impermanence is a central motif in Keats's poetry.
The final stanza of the poem shifts to a more reflective and philosophical tone. Keats contemplates the autumn season as a time of fulfillment and completion, likening it to a "gleaner" who gathers the last grains of a bountiful harvest. This suggests that even in the midst of decline, there is a sense of satisfaction and beauty in the natural cycle of life.
"Ode to Autumn" is a masterful poem that celebrates the beauty and richness of the autumn season while also reflecting on the broader themes of change and the passage of time. Keats's use of sensory imagery and personification creates a vivid and immersive experience for the reader, inviting them to savor the sights and sensations of autumn. It is a contemplative and timeless exploration of the beauty found in the transitory moments of life.